Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has lauded the assistance offered to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) by philanthropic people and the private sector. He recognized their contributions over the weekend in a feature address at the QEH’s 50th Anniversary Gala And Special Awards Ceremony.
Noting that the policy of the Government of Barbados since Independence in 1966 had been to ensure Barbadians benefited from universal health care, Stuart said access to a full range of services from Government alone was no longer tenable in 2015.
“It would be remiss of me not to express the heartfelt thanks of the Government and people of Barbados to those philanthropic persons and organizations that have so generously assisted the QEH throughout the years. You are genuine friends of Barbados,” he said.
He added: “We believe that you know the value of this institution, compared with the many that you see in other places. We acknowledge that work continually needs to be done to improve all aspects of the operation of this hospital. We know that you understand the challenges of the QEH and wish to help with the solutions. We gratefully accept your assistance and pledge to use your contributions in the best way possible.”
Lauding the business sector for ensuring that a line of credit remained open to the QEH for vital drugs and medication during the economic downturn of recent years, Stuart said: “Thanks also go to the private sector who has stood by the QEH in good times and bad times also.”
Earlier, the Prime Minister told his audience, which included distinguished members of the medical profession, that after 50 years the QEH was “still alive, effervescent and strong –– shortcomings and imperfections notwithstanding”.
“It still stands tall among its parallels in the region. For half a century, the QEH has been a shining symbol of quality health care, and the standard bearer for its delivery at the secondary and tertiary stages, both to the people of Barbados and to the people of the region.
“Countless patients and their relatives can testify to lives that have been saved, or to good health that has been restored as a result of its impressive stewardship,” the Prime Minister said.
Stressing the important role the QEH plays in the delivery of health care, not only to Barbadians but to residents of the Eastern Caribbean, Stuart noted that over the past 50 years the QEH had served as a referral resource for other countries in the Eastern Caribbean.
Citing statistics to bear out his argument that over the past 50 years the administrations at the QEH must have been doing many things right for the institution to survive, Stuart said: “Let us be frank. An organization that manages annually a patient throughput of 21,000 admissions; 90,000 outpatient services; 3.7 million laboratory investigations; 11,000 surgeries; over 40,000 diagnostic imaging studies; and 42,000 visits to the Accident & Emergency Department must be doing many things right. To this we must add the preparation of 27,000 meals per month.”