Doctors’ orders

BAMP warns authorities there must be no repeat of recent medical supply shortages

History must not be allowed to repeat itself at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH).

The stern warning come today from the island’s doctors to local hospital authorities, following a recent shortage of emergency medical supplies at the state-run health care institution.

The Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners (BAMP) issued the warning this afternoon in a press statement, even as it gave a solemn assurance that its members would be treating non-urgent medical cases again.

However, the health care practitioners, who have been handling emergency cases only since last week, further cautioned the authorities that they would “take measured and appropriate action in the public’s interest whenever the need arises”.

Last evening, the Ministry of Health issued a statement in which it sought to assure the doctors that negotiations for a $25 million financial injection for the cash-strapped hospital were far advanced.

“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,” yesterday’s  statement said.

Nevertheless, the medical practitioners were insistent that a sustainable medium and long-term remedy had to be found to the institution’s financial woes.

BAMP’s public relations officer Linda Williams.
BAMP’s public relations officer Linda Williams.

“Having met again with our members, BAMP has decided that we will accept these verbal assurances and we will resume the management of the majority of non-urgent cases, while supplies are being restored. Furthermore, BAMP will meet with the QEH administration on a monthly basis to ensure the most efficient use of limited resources, to devise further cost-cutting measures and to keep abreast of any developments that may impact on patient care,” the release, issued by BAMP’s Public Relations officer Dr Lynda Williams, stated.

Though pleased that their current concerns had been acknowledged and addressed, the doctors said they remained cognizant that “a mere five months ago we warned of the urgent need for sustainable medium and long-term solutions to the QEH’s financing problems”.

Today’s statement followed a meeting with the QEH’s administration on Tuesday and with Minister of Health John Boyce and a team from the Ministry of Health and the QEH on Wednesday.

At these meetings, BAMP said it was assured that some basic supplies had already arrived at the QEH and simply needed to be distributed within the hospital.

It also said assurances were given by the authorities that in order to prevent any further supply shortages, there would be “consistent provision of two million Barbados dollars per week to the hospital”.

Additionally, Government has promised that “the current problems related to the in-hospital management, procurement and distribution of supplies would be addressed by December 31, with full implementation and staffing of the SmartStream management accounting system” and that “a concept paper on plans for long-term financing of the QEH through health care reform, would be laid before Cabinet for consideration by January 31, 2015.

”Clear lines of accountability for each of these actions were established and agreed upon by both parties,” the release pointed out.

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