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Inniss: Money being wasted

The Minister of Health in Barbados has condemned the “inefficient and ineffective” way in which taxpayers money was being spent on the provision of various diagnostic services to citizens.

When Donville Inniss addressed a graduation ceremony for the Competence-based Instructional Design Facilitation and Assessment Workshop and Urgent Care Training Course at the auditorium of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital this afternoon, he lamented the length of time it took for patients to get back results for X-rays done at the QEH.

Inniss insisted that the existing processes which patients were forced to endure before receiving their results were not only costly, but also unacceptable and even a health risk to such clients.

“Right now the average Barbadian goes to the polyclinic, the doctor say you need an ultra sound; you make your way to the QEH, spend a day to get an appointment to come back. I don’t know when to get the appointment; then to perhaps wait a few more weeks to get the results, and then you have to go back to the doctor at the polyclinic to discuss your care.

“There is no way on God’s earth that could be considered absolute best care,” Inniss said.

He said that average person had probably took three or four days off from work to address one issue.

“And when you extrapolate that, you realise the huge cost to Government as an employer and to the private sector, or whoever, for the amount of time that individual has spent off work; plus the risk of that person’s health deteriorating, whilst waiting on these results,” he noted.

Inniss said he had therefore decided that the Ministry of Health must press ahead with plans to bring these services closer to the primary care setting such as the polyclinics.

“There is no reason why the QEH must be the only Government-owned facility that provides these kinds of diagnostic services. So the task now falls to the chief medical officer and other staff in the Ministry of Health to make it happen,” he pointed out.

On the question of where the money would come from, he said: “Well, I’ll tell you this. It is already being done. So the money is being spent anyhow, but not being spent efficiently and the most effective manner. And I’m sure that when you do your costing, the unit cost to provide this service at the primary care level is certainly a lot less than what we do currently at the tertiary care level.”

He said it was the commitment of the Government to bring these services closer to individuals.

“(So) you can get your X-rays, your ultra sound done the same day and the results can be sent electronically to the doctor. The days of shuffling paper all over the Ministry of Health must come to an end – that’s the 19th century,” Inniss declared. (EJ)

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