An old boys’ club of consultants is controlling things at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), contends a Government minister.
Member of Parliament for St James South Donville Inniss made the charge today in the House of Assembly, as he criticized the island’s doctors, calling for their contracts to be ripped up.
Inniss, a former Minister of Health, was speaking during debate on a resolution for an additional $1.8 million to pay contractors for the David Thompson Health and Social Services Complex in St John.
The Minister of Commerce called for an overhaul of the way some consultants operated at the island’s main health care facility.
“Within the QEH there are some issues that must be addressed. I hear MP after MP reflect on the stories of long wait times, postponed surgeries . . . and these things would happen even in situations with adequate financing.”
However, Inniss said what concerned him was the failure to examine the current arrangement with some senior physicians at the hospital.
“My view . . . is that the contracts between the consultants and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital need to be thrown through the window. [They are] not relevant to 2017. The contracts that exist today may have been fine when you had a few with the skills available as they did 30 years ago.
“But today, you have an old boys’ network that is continuing to run things in that institution and denying opportunities to others and some of them are running a thriving private practice out there that is creating a lot of pressure on . . . the QEH,” Inniss told the House.
The St James South representative called for a serious examination of health care financing in Barbados, revealing that it costs the state $4, 000 each month to treat a single dialysis patient.
“A lot more screening work can be done in the polyclinic system”, such as physiotherapy, he told the House. At the same time, he called for rationalizing of the community health care programme so more people could be treated in their homes.
“When we drill down we can see there are ways that we can reduce the unit cost in the delivery of health care without compromising on the quality of care,” he added.
Meanwhile, Gline Clarke, Opposition Member of Parliament for St George North, accused the current administration of merely undertaking cosmetic changes in the health care system and not seriously examining the issues.
In his contribution, St Michael South Central representative Richard Sealy called for the removal of politics from the health care debate.
He, however, acknowledged more money was spent on the David Thompson Health and Social Services Complex than had been planned.
Sealy explained that the original plan for the facility had been extended, adding that there were additional costs rather than overruns in the construction.