Four professional organizations which work with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in the delivery of patient care, say the island’s premier health care institution is in “a crisis” and an SOS has gone out to Government to address the situation.
The statement by members of the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners (BAMP), the Junior Doctors Association (JDA), the Barbados Association of Medical Technologists (BAMT), and the Barbados Physical Therapy Association (BPTA), reiterated concerns previously raised on quite a few occasions.
The four organizations say the QEH is suffering and deteriorating from a continuing shortage of essential supplies which is “seriously impacting both the quality and the range of services offered by the institution.”
In a statement today, the medical practitioners heavily criticized what was described as the Government’s laissez-faire attitude to a December 2014 promise to ensure that a weekly transfer of funds was made to the QEH to address the supplies problem, as well as provide a lump sum payment of $25 million by the end of 2014 to partially repay debt owed to key suppliers.
“We are alarmed that not only has Government failed to meet these two commitments but that they have also demonstrated a lack of urgency in finding sustainable long-term solutions,” the four organizations jointly said.
The four claimed that shortages at the QEH were now at “unprecedented levels” even though the hospital’s administration has been working to address procurement and distribution issues.
“Without resolution of the basic underlying problem – the unreliable and inadequate funding of the hospital – the recurrence of supply shortages is unavoidable,” the statement said.
It added: “This is seriously impacting both the quality and the range of services offered by the institution. We find this highly unacceptable and believe that it constitutes social injustice to Barbados’ most vulnerable citizens who are unable to afford healthcare elsewhere.”
The practitioners again called on Government to provide the needed capital for the institution of function safely.
“Given the seriousness of the matter, we urge the Government of this island to present its plans for healthcare reform without further delay so that as a nation, we may engage in democratic debate that will determine the best way forward.
“The well being of the citizens of Barbados and its visitors, who depend on the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, must be given the utmost priority.”
In the meantime, they said patients would continue receive optimal care with the supplies on hand.
“We are presently doing our very best to provide care despite the limitations and challenges that we face daily and we will continue to do so.”