Management of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) is being told to undertake some belt-tightening measures while at the same time making every effort to improve efficiency at the Martindale’s Road facility.
Chairman of the QEH board of directors Joseph King issued the directive on Friday during the annual corporate review and outlook of the medical facility at the Barbados Hilton Resort.
Stating that the hospital was faced with many challenges, King said the main one for the board of directors was “to make the decisions that will meet with satisfaction, the request of the staff for resources” from limited annual subventions.
“Each of you heads of department, both administrative and medical must be reminded that you must remain conscious of the limited finances allocated this year and you must temper your increased departmental demands while making every effort to improve both efficiency and production within your department,” said King.
“This call is necessary in the light of the fact that each government financed institution is called on to improve fiscal prudence at a national level. If you are to obtain departmental efficiency then you must plan carefully and employ tighter control, limit your demands for resources and find creative ways to achieve improved output,” he said.
King said following a recent study commissioned by the Ministry of Finance, the QEH was mandated to find creative ways of generating revenue to finance its operations.
He said such a plan should be embraced by all, adding that “in the near future” revenue-generating activities “will be communicated” to management.
He also called for the public image of the hospital to be improved, adding that the board of directors was faced with the task of making decisions that would allow the hospital’s management to meet its long-term objectives of transforming the hospital into a 24-hour operation.
“No longer can the theatres be allowed to run for 24-hours in a fully operational mode with down time after 4 p.m. and on weekends occasionally being used outside the normal time only for emergencies. Here lies an asset that can generate revenue if we plan carefully and restructure our activities to this effect . . . effort to complement the transition process must accelerate,” he said.
He told the executives and heads of department that given limited resources the board was constrained and therefore he was challenging them to do more to reduce the high levels of absenteeism and “make a serious effort to plan carefully with a view of reducing high incidents of overtime”.
He also called on them to encourage staff to develop strategies in decreasing “all possible wastage and develop activities to build departmental loyalty” in an effort to help repair the “negative comments made by the public” about the institution.
“The board of directors will continue to ensure all deadlines set by the Ministry of Finance are met through satisfying its request for documented projections and governance plans,” said King, while also calling on the executives to support staff training and award staff for exemplary work.
Meanwhile, Minister of Health John Boyce said he was aware of the challenges facing the QEH including the fiscal challenges.
However, he chose to focus more on the “encouraging improvements achieved over the years, pointing out that he was satisfied efforts were being made to improve the operations despite “some ill-informed critics”.
He pointed to the certification of the laboratory, a baby friendly initiative, HACCP certification, as well as gains under the Achieving Improved Measurement (AIM) programme.
He also highlighted what he called significant investment in technology, which he said was dramatically transforming various services at the hospital to ensure better patient outcomes.