Govt assures doctors cash issues will be fixed
The Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners (BAMP) has been given assurances by Government that recent cash-flow challenges of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) are being addressed.
At a meeting convened by Minister of Health John Boyce on Tuesday, Government also sought assure the doctors that the hospital’s financial commitments to suppliers would be met.
In this regard, “negotiations to secure funding of $25 million are quite advanced, and will be completed within the next two weeks”, the Ministry of Health said in a statement issued via the Government Information Service (GIS) this afternoon.
“These funds will be complemented by weekly transfers from the Treasury Department to the QEH to guarantee a continuous flow of service. It is anticipated that these measures will allow the QEH to meet its obligations on a timely basis and minimize any major inventory shortages in the future,” the statement added.
It comes in the wake of a stern warning issued last week by BAMP, backed up by the Junior Doctors Association, that doctors would be treating to emergency cases only at the state-run hospital, which they said was facing a critical shortage of medical supplies.
It was met by an angry response from the hospital’s CEO Dexter James, who described the move as both “irresponsible” and “reckless”.
However, today’s statement said the QEH management team and BAMP had agreed “in the spirit of forging improved communications and building a partnership between the doctors and hospital administration” to hold monthly meetings going forward to share information on the operations of the QEH.
“The date and time for the first meeting is to be determined by the two parties,” the statement added.
With respect to the hospital’s system of inventory management, the CEO has given a further commitment that immediate action would be taken to update the already installed SmartStream Supplies Management software.
“This includes inventory for the operating theatres, laboratory, pharmacy and the food and central stores. The management of the QEH will also expand the level of clerical support to these areas to ensure that the integrity of the system is maintained.
“These improvements are anticipated to be fully operational by December 31, 2014,” the release said.
The Ministry also acknowledged that “a more sustainable economic model for financing health care” was necessary for the long-term provision of the quality health services to which Barbadians have become accustomed.
“The Ministry of Health has committed to finalize a concept paper on options for financing health care. This is to be submitted to Cabinet by January 31, 2015, for its consideration. This paper will form the basis for national discussion,” the statement added.