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Walcott: Fire QEH board

rhondathompson, [email protected]

Walcott: Fire QEH board

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Former Minister of Health Dr Jerome Walcott has suggested sacking the board of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in the interest of “patient care”.
Walcott made the recommendation while addressing a Barbados Labour Party (BLP) public meeting in Massiah Street, St John, on Wednesday night.
He charged that the board had mishandled the Dr Richard Ishmael “affair” and continued to preside over situations that undermined the institution’s commitment to the best patient care possible.
The hospital recently suspended Dr Ishmael, but lifted the suspension.
“It was a silly and stupid decision to suspend your only paediatric cardiologist, pending an investigation, because he used the QEH letterhead to write a letter,” Walcott argued.
“… The only rational and reasonable thing to do in that situation would  be for the minister to revoke the appointment of the board members,” he said.
Unless this happened, “you are going to have a running battle with a consultant and the board”, he predicted.
He said that gainst such a backdrop, patient care was sure to suffer.
 “Anybody can see that; that you need to have a board in place now that can work along with your members of staff,” he added.
“It is not about controlling anybody.
You can’t whip any doctors into submission.
You can’t do that.
“You need to deal with the fundamental issues within the hospital, in terms of shortages, in terms of the deficiencies.”
The QEH still faced major problems, including non-functioning elevators, claimed Walcott.
“Every department in that institution has problems, in terms of equipment, in terms of staffing,” he told the gathering of about 300.
“The only area that I would hazard a guess that doesn’t have problems is the cafeteria because it’s being managed by the private sector.”
He added that there were problems in getting  X-rays in the X-Ray Department, and the sick also had difficulty getting admitted to the medical wards, which were “perenially overcrowded”.
When the BLP left office in 2008, funds were available for the Medical Intensive Care Unit to be refurbished and expanded, but three years later “work is still to begin”, he complained.
  Walcott said the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) had talked much about a “QEH?Rescue Plan”, but “no-one knows what is this Government’s plan for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital”. (TY)