Executive chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) Juliette Bynoe-Sutherland has declared success in the hospital’s handling of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, at a cost of $9 million.
As she unveiled the QEH’s strategy for the safe resumption of outpatient and elective surgical services to journalists, Bynoe-Sutherland revealed that $5.9 million had been spent on ventilators and other equipment while $3 million paid wages and bought personal protection equipment (PPE) and supplies.
The executive chairman said the money came from the hospital’s budget.
Based on advice from Head of Infectious Diseases at the QEH Dr Corey Forde back in January, a decision was made to purchase as much PPE as possible long before Barbados’ first case of COVID-19, she disclosed.
Bynoe-Sutherland said: “So his advice to us at that time was to get ahead of the curve and buy as much PPE on the local market.
“In fact, we bought all of the PPE that was on the local market so much so that the suppliers had to quickly resupply in order to meet the needs of the other institutions.
“So by having that early, the reason why the QEH has relatively had great solidarity as we move forward in our response is that we were ahead of the curve in terms of our planning, of getting our key resources in place.
“We had a plan and we have been working that plan as effectively and as creatively and as adaptively as we could and we are responding to that plan.”
She revealed that even during the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospital’s incident command met daily to address any issues confronting the QEH.
She said there were also weekly board meetings to approve spending and hospital initiatives.
Bynoe-Sutherland said the main objective was to keep the QEH free of COVID-19 for as long as possible.
She outlined that the QEH focused mainly on keeping its staff safe, patients safe, while ensuring optimal service delivery.
She said: “Part of the reasoning for ensuring that the hospital was insulated is to ensure that vulnerable patients were not affected. It also allowed us to ensure that staff would not be overwhelmed.
“What we saw happen in a lot of hospitals is that the epidemic happened so quickly in many of these institutions that staff became overwhelmed, systems broke down, insufficient numbers of PPE were in place and we were in a position therefore to pace ourselves as an institution.”
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