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Sick bay solution

Mike King

Sick bay solution

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ONE of Barbados’ most respected physicians in emergency medicine wants to see a 250-bed acute care hospital that will ease the strain on the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH).
Dr Frank Bishop, a co-founder of the FMH medical clinic, expressed the wish at the Accident & Emergency (A&E) Department’s 20th anniversary awards dinner at Hilton Barbados on Saturday night.
Before an audience that included Minister of Health Donville Inniss, former A&E chief Dr Raana Naidu and QEH chief executive officer Dexter James, guest speaker Bishop also called for emergency medical care at the polyclinics, adding it was about time these facilities stepped up to the plate.
“I think we need to develop a new hospital which should have between 250 and 300 beds, maintain the QEH, and once patients have reached the recovery stage, we could then move them from the acute care facility to the QEH where they could continue their recovery.
“The QEH would be a sort of step-down facility,” he added, “where, once you have recovered to a certain stage but are not yet fully fit to go home, and don’t need the expert nursing and doctoring . . . you can go . . . . That is where care [would] continue.”
Bishop, 52, who has been in emergency medicine for the last two decades, said care at polyclinics was much too basic and that the time had come for better equipment and further training of personnel at these facilities.
“I have a strong feeling that with the right training, both personnel and nursing, we can establish satellite emergency care facilitites in all of the polyclinics,” he said.
Acknowledging that a pilot study had to be done at some of the larger polyclinics such as the Maurice Byer and Sir Winston Scott, Bishop said the infrastructure needed to be there to accommodate X-ray and small laboratory facilities for special tests.
“For example, if a person comes in with chest pains, we can see him, do a electrocardiogram (ECG), blood test, and determine that the patient does not have a heart attack. But if we didn’t have that, one would have to go to A&E, join the queue, wait three, four, five hours while we try to get back those results.
“In an upgraded polyclinic, you could just stop there and get the same kind of evaluation that you would get in A&E, but not have to go through the same rigours.
“If we think that after we do those tests in the polyclinic that you have a heart attack, we call the ambulance and then you would go straight through, you wouldn’t have to stop in A&E anymore. You would be admitted straight to the ward.”
Bishop said polyclinics needed to step to the next level.
“Polyclinics have been doing the same thing for much too long. Now that we are training emergency physicians, we need to take it to the next level which is to establish and deliver emergency care in the community.
“If you are playing soccer and twist your ankle just around the corner from the polyclinic, you should be able to go the polyclinic and have your ankle X-rayed.
If it is a fracture and I have to put a cast on it, you may never have to see the inside of A&E.”