20 years on

FMH head gives broad assessment of health care system

A leading medical practitioner is calling for more reforms to the state-run health care system.

Dr Michael Wharton, who along with his colleagues Dr Harold Watson and Frank Bishop established the private FMH Clinic in 1997, told Barbados TODAY “We have come a long way in Barbados since then, and some of the other clinics have helped the Accident & Emergency (A& E) Department at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital improve its services, but there is still a lot more that can be done.”

Dr Wharton said, for example, “The A&E department is now offering more procedures than before, but we find they still are not getting patients up to the wards quickly enough.

“It would also be helpful if the polyclinics could open for longer hours, since many of the patients who come to the A & E have issues that could be easily dealt with in the polyclinic setting.”

Initially the FMH Clinic opened its doors 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but changed that because it was “very taxing” on the staff.

When asked whether Barbados could use a second hospital, a subject that has arisen on many occasions since the closure of the St Joseph Hospital back in 1986, Dr Wharton said, “Yes, we do need one, but health care is a very costly business. We have a situation where people expect certain services to be free, but providing health care to the standards we need is not cheap.”

He was speaking as FMH celebrated its 20th anniversary with a Christmas dinner at the Courtyard Marriott. As he addressed the staff members and their families, Dr. Wharton said their clients had expressed concern that they “seemed less caring than before”, but he countered this by saying, “Our traffic has increased, but we plan to get back to that ‘caring place’ by making a greater effort to use our call back system to see how our patients are faring.”

Employees received awards for spending ten or more years with the clinic, and six were singled out for special awards, namely Yvonne Pitt, Dr Reginald King, Jacqueline Brown, Shelly Murray, Zelma Ward and Kerry Greene. (DH)

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