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Dialysis Unit to the limit

The management of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) is looking at outsourcing some of its 185 plus dialysis patients to private health care providers as its Dialysis Unit is now stretched to capacity. It is also seeking to have high-level talks with the Ministry of Health to look at this most urgent matter.

Speaking to the media after the QEH’s 50th anniversary cake-cutting ceremony this morning, chief executive officer Dr Dexter James reported that in the past two weeks, the hospital had admitted “an outstanding 25 new patients” to the unit. He explained that these had not been seen by the public service health care system, but were rather referred to the unit by private doctors, or after being rushed to the Accident & Emergency, having fallen ill.

James described this latest development which the financially troubled institution now faced as a pandemic related to diabetes and other non-communicable diseases. The unit simply did not have the staff, or was it equipped to treat the increase in patients, he indicated.

“We may now have to find a way of trying to add on another nursing shift to be able to manage the extra patients. Right now, we run three shifts per day, six days a week; and we start about 5:30 in the morning and go as late as 11:30 p.m.

“It is a tremendous amount of work that is being done with these almost 185 patients. We have 32 patients who are on dialysis [at home],” he said.

The CEO also suggested that the hospital now needed to review its educational health promotion programmes and strategies because of an issue with effectively impacting behaviour modification.

“The numbers are increasing and it is going to get worse,” said James.

Meanwhile, he described the 50th anniversary as an important day in the life of the Martindale Road, St Michael institution which, officially was opened on November 14, 1964, and has provided thousands of Barbadians with many a service. He that owing to the current economic climate, in spite of the QEH’s many achievements, the facility was now forced to stretch a budget that was slashed last year.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital chief executive officer Dr Dexter  James (left); board chairman Joseph King (right); the first  baby to be born at the QEH, Rhonda Taylor (second from right);  and Dr James’ shadow CEO for the day, Lodge school  student Shamia Barnett, blowing out the candles on the hospital’s 50th birthday cake.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital chief executive officer Dr Dexter James (left); board chairman Joseph King (right); the first baby to be born at the QEH, Rhonda Taylor (second from right); and Dr James’ shadow CEO for the day, Lodge school student Shamia Barnett, blowing out the candles on the hospital’s 50th birthday cake.

The CEO said therefore innovation must be a key driver of sustainability within the context of building resources.

“As we celebrate the birthday of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, we show immense appreciation and thanks to the employees, volunteers, boards of management and health partners.

“They have served this institution with extension, exceptional care, and astute leadership. Let us take our time to reflect on our past and chart a new vision for the institution,” he said.

The Royal Barbados Police Band performed a selection of tunes and also joined singer Betty Griffith-Payne and young artiste Ranaan Hackett as they delivered Beautiful Barbados and Reach, respectively.

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