CEO paints picture of QEH operations at town hall meeting
MAKING THE QUEEN ELIZABETH HOSPITAL (QEH) a more efficient service provider is a top priority, chief executive officer Dr Dexter James has revealed.
The hospital boss told a medium-sized crowd at a Ministry of Health-organised Town Hall meeting last night that as costs continue to rise, the QEH is at pains to improve the way it does business.
But Dr James was still quick to point out that Barbadians are lucky to have access to such a facility, saying the QEH remains a shining light for health care in the Caribbean in spite of its challenges.
Last night’s Town Hall meeting, the first of four being staged by the ministry this month, is aimed at coming up with a new health care financing model for the country, through interaction with the Barbadian public.
“The question always has to be, ‘how do we finance the gap between what is appropriated and what it costs to run the hospital’,” the CEO said, noting that Government provides about $154 million to the QEH annually, but the institution actually needs about $190 million.
Dr James also explained operations have improved to earn about $10 million, but the hospital is still not a massive money earner because of how the country’s national health scheme model is set up.
He said another question that needs to be answered, sooner than later, is how they streamline the services they provide. The CEO said contrary to popular belief, it is not as easy as dropping some services which are not heavily utilised by the public, or are huge money makers.
Dr James also noted the facility is hamstrung by the fact that it has no control over the price of drugs, medical equipment or medical supplies, which continues to put them behind the eight-ball.
“Today we have very few cases we send overseas. People always say we should remove services. The question is what services can we remove?”
Dr James said the tastes of Barbadian consumers are also driving up the cost of health care in Barbados.
“We have more and more people who are watching television and seeing top of the line health care on Dr House and ER. Now they want that same type of care too,” the CEO said, eliciting some laughter from the audience in the school hall.
“..But the fact is that the QEH, in spite of its challenges, still provides a range of services that a lot of other countries do not,” the doctor noted.
He said the series of Town Hall meetings are extremely timely, since determining just what kind of health care model they want should be important to all Barbadians. (BA)