Mottley: QEH crisis a matter of urgency
Members of the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) this afternoon walked out of Parliament after failing to have the situation at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital discussed as a matter of urgency.
Following a similar motion of “urgent public importance” lodged by Shadow Minister of Health Dr Maria Agard in July, the party had again tried to have MPs turn their attention to the problems at the country’s premier health institution.
In a statement later in the evening, Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley said the BLP was “concerned by the statement made by the doctors of BAMP and the junior doctors that there is a crisis of the highest order at the QEH and the patient and physician safety is at risk, such that they will now only deal with emergency cases in relation to the hospital”.
She said what was even more disturbing was the doctors’ loss of confidence in how the QEH was being managed.
The St Michael North East MP argued that it was a problem that brought to culmination what other people have been saying about the hospital and their experiences in recent months.
Mottley said that based on the stronger and more muscular language used by the doctors of the QEH, she had asked the House of Assembly, through a letter to the Speaker, that the House again be moved to discuss a matter of definite urgent public importance that the country could be given a calm assurance from Prime Minister Freundel Stuart on the matter.
She said there was nothing Parliament was discussing today that could have been as important to the lives of ordinary Barbadians as the situation at the QEH.
Meantime, Leader of Opposition Business in the House of Assembly Kerrie Symmonds said it was a “heartbreaking shame” that the QEH could find itself in the present situation.
“It was in July of this year that $22 million was made available to the QEH in order to correct the chronic shortages of essential supplies at that hospital,” he pointed out, noting that, back then, Minister of Health John Boyce indicated to Parliament he was satisfied that no crisis existed and that the public could continue to be confident in the QEH.
“We are now four months later and the exact concerns that gave rise to the action taken by the Shadow Minister of Health at the time in the Parliament and the precise state of mismanagement and chronic shortage at the hospital now again exist,” he said.
Symmonds was of the view that the QEH was too essential an institution to be allowed to lurch from crisis to crisis.
“It is having a disastrous impact on the psyche and confidence of every Barbadian who, at any time of the day, may fall ill and are forced to go there for treatment,” he said.
Symmonds also felt the ongoing challenges there were not good for the country’s reputation as a tourist destination or as a place to do business.
“I am calling on the head of the Government to take decisive action in order to support the doctors when they call for a change of management at the hospital and perhaps, by extension, a change of management at the Ministry of Health,” he said.