Opposition Leader Mia Mottley has charged that pharmaceutical companies are now requiring the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) to not only pay for items up front, but to make payments toward their old debt in order to get any supplies.
She told the House of Assembly that the suppliers took that stance, effective yesterday, after Government’s failure to deliver on paying outstanding monies.
As a result of longstanding debt, pharmaceutical companies stopped providing medical supplies to the QEH and doctors there announced in November that because of the lack of critical supplies, it could not deal with cases other than emergencies.
According to Mottley, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler and Minister of Health John Boyce subsequently met with representatives of the companies who said they were owed from as far back as 2012 and could no longer supply the hospital under the circumstances.
She said the suppliers were promised that Government would pay the debt that was 90 days or older, but that had not yet materialized.
“The six companies had to write the hospital director again on February 13th of this year . . . to point out that they had now been waiting in spite of several efforts and additional requests . . . since that meeting in November to receive the monies that were promised by the Minister of Finance to them and that as a result, with immediate effect from March 15, they would be putting a system in place where they would require what they called a 50-50 cash arrangement,” Mottley said.
“Up until yesterday they supplied the hospital whatever drugs or supplies they needed once cash was paid, in spite of the old debt. As of yesterday, these people have put the Government on notice that they need all of the cash for what you are currently ordering, and an equivalent amount towards the old debt in order for you to be able to
The St Michael North West MP pointed out that it was not only pharmaceutical companies, but doctors at the hospital who have been speaking out.
She noted that late last year and up to last Friday they expressed grave concerns about the quality of care that can be offered at the QEH.
“The doctors wrote the hospital administration late last year or early this year and asked for a meeting because they recognise that they are putting themselves at risk in terms of legal liability because if they know that there’s a shortage and the quality care cannot be delivered that they are professionally at risk in terms of liability . . .”
“This is what this Government has reduced Barbados to,” Mottley charged.