Medical doctors in Barbados say they will not be silenced when the safety and welfare of patients are at risk.
President of the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners (BAMP) Dr Carlos Chase made clear the doctors’ position, 24 hours after some government ministers declared in Parliament that the doctors were causing fear in the country by telling people there was a crisis at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) and that basic and essential medical supplies were seriously low.
Dr Chase told Barbados TODAY this afternoon that while BAMP recognised the significant concern which its statement on Monday had generated among members of the public, the association believes Barbadians have a right to know “the truly unprecedented and dangerous levels of shortages that exist”.
“As concerned citizens of a democratic country, we reserve the right to warn Barbadians. We will therefore never retreat to a position of silence when patients’ safety and welfare are at risk,” he said.
He added that despite the views expressed in the House of Assembly yesterday, BAMP had a singular agenda – “the protection and preservation of the lives of our patients and to ensure that doctors practice in an environment that allows us to deliver the highest standard of healthcare possible.”
Dr Chase further insisted that politics did not come into play for the doctors, only patient safety.
BAMP also welcomed the announcement in Parliament yesterday by Minister of Health John Boyce of a $22 million injection into the QEH within the next 10 days.
He said the announcement was “in response to our plea for a swift resolution to the critical shortages of supplies that are currently affecting the hospital”.
“While they were unable to directly acknowledge the depth of the current crisis, we are pleased that the Government has recognised the pressing need to purchase supplies and has promised much needed funds,” he said.
“As the Right Honourable Prime Minister so verbosely outlined yesterday, shortages at the QEH are not new. However, these shortages are more severe and more frequent than ever and are definitely compromising the standard of care at our only tertiary care institution,” Dr Chase said.
In providing an example of the critical state of affairs at the hospital, Dr Chase cited the lack of a crucial tests to measure blood/gas levels, which he warned was presented significant challenges to the monitoring and treatment of intensive care patients, including new born babies.
The BAMP head also reiterated that the strategy of providing short term financial supplements, had only contributed to the chronic and recurrent nature of the problem.
He said the association was heartened to hear a government minister acknowledge this and agreed that a new approach to financing the QEH was necessary to reverse the worsening trend. Dr Chase assured the Government that BAMP was ready to assist it wherever it could.