After spending millions of dollars on upgrades, infrastructure, and equipment, Government is still to get operations at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) right, says the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) spokesman on Health, Social Care and Pharmaceutical Development, Paul Gibson.
In fact, he’s calling on Government to reorganise the board and management at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) “so clinicians would form its team of core decision-makers.”
Gibson highlighted several concerns at the island’s main hospital and challenged the Government to address the reason for the alarming decline in bed space at the QEH – a situation which was brought to light in a recent news article.
“These problems have been ongoing for too long. There are fundamental tools and international standards used in the global environment that assist hospital administrators in their bed board management process. In the case of QEH, this issue is multifactorial,” Gibson said.
Another concern highlighted by Gibson is that although a multi-million-dollar renovation of the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department had doubled its size, other issues remained.
“Why is it that after the Government has spent millions on upgrades the corridors throughout the A&E are still filled with our family members? There is a higher capacity to take patients into the Emergency Room but the ability to move patients out, unfortunately, remains the same,” he said.
Gibson, a pharmacist, further demanded an immediate audit of the A&E Department to identify the factors retarding the ability of Barbadians to get first-world medical care.
What is most concerning to him is that despite all the money spent on the refurbished A&E, little has been put in place to decrease the wait times for patients, which has been a critical issue for years.
“In the modern era, there are algorithms available that indicate the average length of time which should be taken to treat a patient. Yet, we have situations where patients have been discharged in the morning but end up staying the entire day because the medication chart was not delivered to the pharmacy in a timely manner, or consultants are unavailable to attend to patient needs,” he noted.
Furthermore, Gibson pointed out, there is “a continuing exodus of our nursing staff to first-world countries, leaving the QEH short by over 250 nurses”.
He, therefore, suggested that “a fresh guard needs to be taken in respect to patient care at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital as the systems appear to be overwhelmed”.
“Avoiding staff burnout is a major factor. Everyone must carry their fair share of the load and roles must be clearly defined. Failure to do so could result in an avoidable loss of life,” Gibson further cautioned.
He lamented that while Barbadians have overcome many of the health challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the issues which the QEH has been battling for years are still around.