Leader of the Opposition Barbados Labour Party Mia Mottley says the cash flow problems at the QEH should be of serious concern, not only because many lives were being put at risk.
She contended today that the hospital should not be faced with the current financial difficulties since up to March, during the debate on the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure, the House had voted for a $32 million supplementary on top of the $145 million that was allocated during the 2013/2014 budget.
“Therefore the question begs itself, how much money did the Queen Elizabeth Hospital receive in the first quarter from what had been voted in the $145 million?”
Mottley also noted that “yesterday the acting Chief Executive Officer did not locate the problem as a $20 million problem, the hospital owes $43 million today.
“How does the hospital still owe $43 million when it received a supplementary of $32 million before March [but] it is not even fully into the second quarter of the fiscal year?, she asked, before surmising that the institution was suffering from “an acute cash flow crisis”.
“That acute cash flow crisis has meant that supplies are as basic to a hospital as sutures and gloves and linens and pharmaceuticals are being affected because the suppliers will tell you that they have been unable to have significant arrears cleared,” she explained.
“One company in this country up to a few months ago was owed $20 million for pharmaceuticals. . . and they made it clear they will supply only on cash on delivery,” Mottley added.
Additionally, she argued that when the nation’s main healthcare facility could be experiencing a situation where critical pieces of equipment were not functioning, or when in the middle of an operation the electricity goes, in spite of there having been a $20 million upgrade of electrical supply, there was cause for serious concern.
Mottley said that more than an assured infusion of $22 million into the hospital in five to 10 days was required of the Minister of Health John Boyce.
She said the issue of the proper management of Government’s cash flow problem needs to be addressed.