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More money for hospital

Minister of Health Donville Inniss (File photo)

Government is moving to make Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s immediate financial position healthier.

One week after getting Parliament’s approval to provide the Ministry of Housing and Lands with more than $41 million in supplementary financing, the current administration now wants the Lower House to approve an even larger sum — $44.5 million — for the QEH.

This is in addition to a further $3.7 million needed to complete the multi-purpose complex that will house the St. John Polyclinic.

The Barbados Drug Service also requires $2.1 million “to prevent stock-out”.

These funds for the local health sector are part of an overall $52.7 million monetary resolution to be debated by the House of Assembly tomorrow.

When the chamber meets in Committee of Supply, Minister of Health Donville Inniss will give details on the need for the funds to be allocated to the QEH, polyclinic and Drug Service.

The money for the QEH is likely to generate fresh debate between Government and the Opposition Barbados Labour Party.

It did just that earlier this year when the Freundel Stuart Administration successfully got approval for an additional $10 million from the Consolidated Fund to be used by the QEH.

At the time both Inniss and Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler defended the need for the additional resources.

Inniss had said the topping up of funds was necessary because the QEH had run out of money before the end of the March 31 financial year.

“The hospital, of course, can never accurately predict the number of patients they have to treat, the prevalence of the illness to which they have to treat in that facility and hence from time to time there is the need for us to recognise the importance of providing additional financial resources to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to meet the demands of this changing society,” he said then.

On the other hand, Sinckler stated: “This supplementary I want to say up front, as has been the case with most of the supplementaries, has already been costed in the Government’s budget, savings have been found to offset the cost and therefore these do not come at any additional cost to the government’s budget by way of its deficit”.

This was when Inniss and Government were criticised by Opposition Christ Church West MP Dr. William Duguid for not improving the QEH.

“When the Democratic Labour Party was elected to office they gave the impression that all will be well at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital once they were elected. They gave the impression that everything would be wonderful, that they would fix all ills, that there would no longer be any shortages of drugs, that there would no longer be any cancellations of operations, that the elevators would never ever break down, that every single thing that was wrong in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital would be righted by the DLP. Those things have not happened,” Duguid said at the time.

In terms of the St. John Polyclinic complex, Inniss said after a recent tour that it needed more money for completion.

The supplementary to be debated tomorrow also contains a request for $2.4 million “to fund the Indigenous Services Export Division, which was transferred from Invest Barbados to the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation on March 29, 2012”. (SC)

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