Help needed

QEH actively Looking for philanthropists

The cash-strapped Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) today announced that it would be going after philanthropy in a big way, as businessman Ralph Bizzy Williams came to its immediate rescue with a much needed injection of financial support.

However, while welcoming the $100,000 donation, which was made by Bizzy on behalf of his Williams Industries Inc., Minister of Health John Boyce immediately sought to make it clear that while the hospital was in dire need of funds, its officials would not be going cap in hand in search of operational support.

Hospital officials including CEO Dr Dexter James (left) and Minister of Health John Boyce (centre) with philanthropists Ralph Bizzy Williams (second from right) and his wife Shelly.
Hospital officials including CEO Dr Dexter James (left) and Minister of Health John Boyce (centre) with philanthropists Ralph Bizzy Williams (second from right) and his wife Shelly.

“I think I should pause and just indicate that this is not about begging or about depending on donations to run the hospital. Far from it! This has [been] demonstrated already by Bizzy and his presentation. It is about a commitment of the people of Barbados and those who can afford,” said Boyce, pointing out that the donations varied.

However, the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer Dr Dexter James was less shy about asking for money to assist the hospital, which was earlier said to be indebted to the tune of $30 million, in meeting its patient care needs.

In fact, he revealed that the QEH had already raised over $10 million in equipment support to date and that it would soon be establishing a philanthropy desk in the hope of attracting even greater financial support.

“We have crossed the $10 million mark in just over a year, since the launch of our equipment prospectus, through some innovative ways of trying to raise capital funds to complement those provided by the Government,” James told reporters, adding that the hospital will be pursuing philanthropy in a big way.

“Very shortly we will be instituting a desk of philanthropy where we could begin to service the many donors, residents, non-residents, the diaspora, who would like to make donations to the hospital,” he said, while assuring that “the dollars given to us are being spent wisely, but not widely”.

Earlier this year, the hospital CEO had warned of the need for a new health care financing model that reduces the dependence on central Government funding in addressing the country’s health care needs.

At the time James had also revealed the findings of a study of the national health account in 2012-2013 which found that total health expenditure in Barbados was $732 million, of which $405 million or 55 per cent was expended by Government; $286 million (39 per cent) by individuals and $37 million or five per cent by employers.

He had also stated that a panel of experts with experience in devising and implementing various aspects of national health insurance solutions had been assembled and that he hoped they would recommend the model that was best suited for Barbados.

That was back in February at the height of the health care financing debate when the hospital hosted a Health Financing Summit at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

However, since then little has been said to suggest that Government is about to embark on any such financing scheme.

However, James today welcomed the substantial donation by Williams Industries, saying the monies would go towards the planned upgrade of the QEH Eye Surgery Theatre (QUEST) and Lions Eye Care Centre and would assist the hospital in addressing a current backlog of close to 1,000 patients awaiting eye surgery for the past five years.

“The backlogs that we had of around 700 patients, we have committed to reduce that backlog by March 31, 2017,” he said.

Head of the Ophthalmology Department Dr Trevor Drakes reported that last year alone some 26,161 patients passed though the ophthalmic clinic.

“We did 1,654 surgeries of which 903 were cataracts and 751 were other surgeries, which included removal of growths on the eyes, glaucoma surgeries, surgeries on the back of the eyes, also ocular plastic surgery where the cornea was replaced, and we also did procedures on children as well,” he said.

He said once the full upgrade of the ophthalmology department was completed it would allow the institution to improve on its waiting time and overall quality of service.

Dr Drakes said it was also the intention of the hospital to capitalize on aspects of medical tourism.

“We not only plan to offer care or ophthalmic care but we certainly believe that there is a need for training of a lot of ophthalmic personnel within the region. That is certainly part of our mandate. We are committed to becoming regionally and internationally acclaimed and we plan to do this by excellence not only in the delivery of care but also in research and training,” he said.

While apologizing for the “significant” backlog at the medical institution, Minister of Health John Boyce said, “it is not as simple as it may meet the eye”.

7 Responses to Help needed

  1. Angela Gray
    Angela Gray November 5, 2016 at 3:26 am

    Meanwhile the Government is spending $7M on Independence celebrations

  2. Veroniva Boyce
    Veroniva Boyce November 5, 2016 at 4:29 am

    ‘Help needed’ use half the funds from the 50th over the TOP Independence Celebrations, wunna salaries and benefits. Wunna need to get wunna priorities right. If wunna can’t afford to build a new hospital, refurbish the building including the Geriatric Hospital and the Ambulance Service. Government after government bounced, passed, neglected, ignored both hospitals all wunna interested in is lining wunna pockets, having big cars to drive off the island and blind to the fact that when wunna take sick, SICK wunna need health care. Wunna borrowing and not paying back, taxing the life out of the citizens. Where is the money going? The entire government is a disgrace. My advice to anyone visiting Barbados ensure wunna have Travel Insurance don’t leave home without it.

  3. Tony Webster November 5, 2016 at 4:46 am

    Such a wonderful, Bizzy donation of this magnitude, and in these difficult times, says volumes of Mr. Williams, and I’m happy to remember a mere pittance I also offered, when the Neo-Natal I.C.U. ran out of filters for their ventilators just last year. The cold fact is that with any institution catering to on-going needs, it’s structure, both financial and operational, requires not only occasional I/V applications of support. A clear and robust foundational policy, with attendant supporting fiscal, physical, and Human Resource structures, as well as a capable board and executive managerial capacity. Anything short of this, will see the continuance of the status quo, with occasional bright-spots. There is no alternative to a sound national policy; active Ministerial overview; and a competent board and executive management. Sacred Cows have no place in such a national institution.

    BTW, it is an impossibility to “go after” philanthropic asssistance…whilst “not begging”!! Philanthropy, Sir, springs soley from the kind heart…of the giver….and only the giver. You could however be speaking of mendicancy, which is not a disease…but could however be cured, simply by considering one’s words carefully before speaking.

  4. jrsmith November 5, 2016 at 6:27 am

    Our (QEH) in managed as like the (NHS) in the UK,…..
    1.. This hospital needs a yearly (Audit) visible to the public…
    2 Its a cash cow , for suppliers of all the equipment required..
    3 The management is over paid for failing to even produce a break even policy..
    4 A tendering regime needs to be forcibly put in place pronto…
    5 Introduction of a minimum charge for prescriptions…..
    6 Introduction of a ( private wing ) for the people who could afford to pay…..
    7 No political management , management on merit and experience…
    8 Intense camera security…
    9 Arrest for anyone found defrauding the unit…..
    Corruption , corruption , corruption , prison, prison , is destroying our people……

  5. Alex Alleyne November 5, 2016 at 8:55 am

    Have been saying for eons now that a $1.00 should be paid by everyone over the age of 18 and under the age of 65 for every visit to the polyclinics. And maybe $1.00 for medication. These funds will add up and will be put to good use in the QEH. Persons who can afford to pay a private Doc should not be walking into the polyclinics for free. The computers should set up in a way that you must present your national registration card and the number linked to BRA for proof of monies earn per year.
    Instead of going around cap in hand , try to get some sort of a meaningful programme going …….ASAP

  6. BimJim November 5, 2016 at 9:40 am

    Personally, I think Bizzy would be well advised to require an audit trail of how his money is spent.

    Because, apparently, handing money to this government and administration is akin to streaming it note by note into a black hole – where it goes, nobody will ever know – and that is why Barbados has a national debt exceeding 11 Billion dollars, which is increasing by 1.5 Billion dollars every year.

    Barbados (as majority owner) has done the same to LIAT – always in debt, yet NOTHING being done to fix the problem. And the most unqualified PM with the least to lose put in charge of it.

    But God forbid that Stumble should actually make a decision and possibly be wrong – clearly, as far as he is concerned it is better to NEVER make a decision and ALWAYS be wrong.

  7. Phil November 5, 2016 at 10:14 am

    Tony Webster, you will recall I outlined a developmental program for the QEH whereby a multilevel car park for staff and visitors with a ground level shopping center can raise over $9 million annually to purchase supplies foe QEH and all polyclinics island wide. Bizzy is a kind, thoughtful individual, who, like his brother, is highly deserving of a knighthood, and whom I suspect will be bestowed upon him to coincide with our 50th Independence anniversary. Perhaps the soon to be “SIR” Ralph Bizzy, will donate all the steel and electrical supplies, alongside the rock hard cement people and some reputable construction company such as Inotech and JADA construction can donate their time and effort to realize this QEH profit center, which may well STOP THEM BEGGING.


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