Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) Dr Dexter James says it’s “no easy feat financially” to sustain the level and quality of services to the public.
“Our expenditure to meet the current level of service demands is in the vicinity of $190 million [but QEH has] a fixed annual budget of $145 million and rising healthcare costs,” James said.
Speaking at the QEH’s 53rd anniversary service at Mount of Praise Wesleyan Holiness Church, James implored policymakers to give urgent attention to revisiting a new model of healthcare financing, describing it as a “necessary imperative if Barbados is to sustain the health gains accrued over many years”.
He added that despite cutbacks, the hospital has been able to keep its doors open for business.
“We continue to see and treat 40,000 patients at our Accident and Emergency department, in spite of the spiralling admissions from injuries, from accidents and acts of violence; admitting 21,000 inpatients and follow-up in excess of 95,000 outpatients,” James said.
“We continue the daily struggle to mitigate stock-outs of essential drugs and supplies; maintain the plant in a good state of repair, and respond to the new public health normal of injuries from accidents and violence. These together with the need to find alternative financial resources to replace obsolete equipment and technology refresh, pose severe challenges to the Board and management,” he said.
James noted that it was just last December that the QEH reached the significant milestone of just under $12 million in philanthropic donations which he said served the hospital well.
“With the donation of $44,000 towards medical equipment by your church [Mount of Praise Wesleyan Holiness Church] and contributions of individuals, the private sector, NGOs and the diaspora, these funds were used to meet various capital improvement projects.
The QEH head said that currently, 25 per cent of Barbadian adults have at least one chronic disease and by 2025 one in three persons will be afflicted with a non- communicable disease.
Despite such an outlook in the health profile of the population, the CEO said QEH remains committed to sustaining the provision of world-class medical care to the population and region.
“We will continue to place our patients at the centre of all we do while preserving access to care – care that is available and affordable.” (KH)