A paediatrician in the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital has suggested that the QEH is in desperate need of more nurses and vital equipment as some of the hospital’s tiniest and most vulnerable patients fight for life.
Dr Angela Jennings said the hospital suffers from a limited staff complement as many nurses have exited the public service.
“We have a manpower issue. I know you would be aware that we had a significant exit of nurses on the island and the department has suffered from this situation and we are short of nurses.
“Obviously, if you are looking at the number of nurses in the department and you have to factor in the days off for the nurses, as they are not working seven days a week and you are working shifts as well. So, you are looking to ensure that each shift is covered with an adequate number of nursing staff,” She told reporters.
The paediatrician used the philanthropic gift of diagnostic monitoring equipment to the hospital’s acute care children’s Ward to make an additional plea for incubators, which could cost as much as $50,000 per unit.
Dr Jennings said: “The incubators are something that we need as well. They are a little more expensive as an incubator can cost $50,000 so it is a higher end element and it is something that we are trying to source because our complement is down once again.”
She spoke to the media as the Canadian Women’s Club of Barbados presented a pulse oximeter – which measures oxygen levels in the bloodstream – and a mobile vital signs monitor.
Although the NICU did receive equipment from the charity for monitoring the vital signs of child patients, Dr Jennings pointed out that normally each child in the NICU would be in need of the vital signs monitors and expressed the need for even more machines.
The chair of the Canadian Women’s Club of Barbados, Ann Smith, said that arising out of this need the club decided to give $18,000 worth of equipment to assist with monitoring the children on the ward.
“The Canadian Women’s Club of Barbados has worked with the paediatric department for many years and we have donated special equipment that is needed for paediatrics and we will continue to do so for as long as we can,” Smith said.