The state-run Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) has been operating substantially short of what was required to provide quality healthcare to Barbadians.
That assessment was made on Tuesday by Minister in the Ministry of Health Ryan Straughn who revealed that the money allocated annually to the island’s lone public hospital was 25 per cent less than what was required.
Speaking in Parliament while leading off debate on the National Insurance and Social Security (Amendment and Validation) Bill 2018, Straughn said the contribution workers and businesses were being asked to make would cover that shortfall.
As part of the Health Service contribution, employers are being asked to pay 1.5 per cent while employees and self-employed persons will contribute one per cent.
“This Health Service contribution, which is going to be administered through the National Insurance Board and delivered directly to the QEH, will fill that gap. We will now go through an exercise to make sure that we understand exactly how monies are being spent to ensure that Barbadians can get the highest value for money,” Straughn said.
The Minister said this now meant greater responsibility would fall on the board of the QEH to spend the monies more responsibly.
“We are at a juncture now where we have to scrutinize everything that we do,” Straughn insisted.
He gave his assurance that the Bill would make it easier to finance proper health care at the QEH, while allowing the medical profession and the Ministry of Health to better manage the health care system in Barbados.
Straughn said monies would not be directed through the Consolidated Fund as had been previously done, as there had been instances where funds collected for the QEH had not been sent to the hospital.