New Hospital the only proper decision for Barbados – but as a nation and as citizens, do we have what it takes to make it happen?

Barbados Queen Elizabeth Hospital Washroom - "Progress & Quality Of Life" As Defined By The Arthur/Mottley BLP Government

Barbados Queen Elizabeth Hospital Washroom - "Progress & Quality Of Life" As Defined By The Arthur/Mottley BLP Government

Minister of Health Donville Inniss announced Tuesday morning that our government has committed the country to building a new hospital. We pray that our current government and the succeeding government(s) receive the wisdom and strength to continue with vital project.

If we can make it happen in five years, I’ll be surprised but pleased. Most people don’t realise the enormity of the task – or how much commitment and effort this will require.

The danger is this: as a people we have been spoiled by two decades of politicians who bribed us with our own money until the cupboard was bare and the loans dried up.

After a generation of artificially living the high life, are the people of Barbados willing to put up with fewer circuses and parties in exchange for a new hospital?

For twenty years, we’ve had government giveaways by the score. We had community group funding. We had huge Crop Over celebrations. We had a Cricket World Cup party that cost us… well.. we don’t know because they never told us. Was it a billion dollar party? Probably. Blown to hell in three weeks of some of the worst cricket I’ve ever seen. Not to mention that “finale” in the dark. A generation of government contracts awarded to friends without bids. Hundreds of millions in project over-runs with not so much as an explanation from any government, whether DLP or BLP.

And then there were the little projects that bled us by a thousand cuts. Remember the $400,000 privy built by Government Minister Liz Thompson’s spouse? Remember the two million dollar plan that gave weed-trimmers to the unemployed boys on the block so they could each have a business cutting the lawns of the rich? That worked out well, didn’t it?

And that’s only a sample of the money the politicians shot to hell to keep us amused.

It’s all gone now, folks – but we still need a new hospital and the economy is in a graveyard spiral. (“Graveyard spiral” is aviation talk, but I’m sure you get the meaning.)

Our Queen Elizabeth Hospital is by any standard, a dump. Ineffective. Wasteful. A national embarrassment. A new coat of paint can only cover so much and that place has seen more coats of paint than Owen Arthur has seen empty bottles.

The condition of the hospital is one of the reasons why a beautiful country like Barbados can’t attract foreign nurses. Think about it… with a modern hospital paying a living wage, Barbados would have well qualified and experienced medical personnel lining up to live and work here.

Barbados desperately needs a new hospital. By the time the new one opens its doors we will be in crisis if we aren’t already.

BFP's Shona Plants A Kiss On The PM For His Good Intentions

BFP's Shona plants a kiss on the PM for his Good Decision

So good for the Thompson government for making a decision that should have been made five years ago by the Arthur/Mottley BLP government. The BLP chose cricket circuses for the masses instead of making the tough decisions to build hospitals and watermains.

Let’s hope and pray that the Thompson government and each citizen remains committed to the new hospital for the long run.

Further Reading

Nation News: New hospital in the works

BFP: Has it come to this in Barbados? Dialysis patients turned away due to shortage of needles, gloves, standard supplies

BFP: Your Child Is Sick: Welcome To Barbados Queen Elizabeth Hospital

19 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Health

19 responses to “New Hospital the only proper decision for Barbados – but as a nation and as citizens, do we have what it takes to make it happen?

  1. Donald Duck, Esq

    Remember the DLP manifesto pledge of 2008

    “The DLP believes that there is no point in building a 21st century facility…”

  2. Donald Duck, Esq

    The next question is where are the funds coming from to build it. Since this government decided that debts of a public private sector partnership (which would likely own the property) now has to be shown as government debt, how can the government access the funds without it showing up as government debt.

  3. Confucius

    What is the problem with the current hospital? Is it the physical structure, some of the people within or both. Are we saying that when we place the old wine into a new bottle, it will change everything for the better?

  4. Dennis Jones (aka Living in Barbados)

    @Donald Duck, philanthropic financing (domestic and foreign) was implicitly a significant component for QEH’s proposed renovation and the 2008 Budget set up the “Foundation for Corporate Social Responsibility and Philanthropy” to facilitate that. The 2009 Budget included “…a Special Purpose Vehicle be established specifically for the purpose of the designing, financing and major renovation of the existing Hospital and/or construction of the extension to the existing Hospital and/or a new Hospital rather than under the project management of the Ministry of Health.” Have the gifts arrived? If not, what is really expected? What are their size?

  5. Sing-a-Song

    Isn’t this “talk” all a bit premature?! The Gov’t doesn’t know where, when or how it will build a new hospital. It doesn’t know what to do with the existing QEH other than express the sentiment that there should be better facilities and service. There has been no statement of philosophy and policy on health care, no determination on the type and range of medical services needed, no discussion on the financing of health care etc, etc which would give us citizens a clue on future developments. We will probably end up with a medical “judicial” center, impressive to look at but dispensing the same old, inadequate, costly service to the benefit only of an “old boy” network.

  6. BFP

    Confucius,

    While I see your point, there’s not a nurse in a first-world country who would want to work in that hospital. Many would love to relocate to sunny Bim, but there’s no way they will for a number of reasons. The first is the hospital.

  7. huh?

    BFP the sad part is this decision WAS

  8. huh?

    Whoops,

    BFP the sad part is that this decision WAS taken over two years ago. The BLP had numerous studies done by UN UNESCO consultants and the Pan American Health Organisation on assessing the current hospital AND alternative sites for a new hospital.

    The DLP dissmissed it as an election gimmick in the election campaign and then on gaining office realised that there were actual studies to back up the decision.

    Thompson has fired one Minister of Health who had the temerity to give the facts (which conflicted with Thompson’s political line) and then has almost two years later finally accepted what was obvious to everyone.

    TWO YEARS

    How much closer would we be to having the new hospital built if this had not been swept under the carpet because it was a political embarrasment to the PM?

    How much money have we spent propping up a derelict plant that we could have saved by expediting this decision?

    Likewise the Nigerian nurses decision has been an absolute fiasco. We let go qualified nurses so we could strip mine the Vincentian labour market for nurses, knowing we couldn’t get enough coverage. WE HAD FOREIGN NURSES HERE ALREADY! The DLP sent them packing!

  9. Hope Springs Eternal

    Huh, while I agree with you on most of your points regarding the DLP and it’s lack of action, the Nigerian nurse were apparently sent packing because many of them were not qualified nurses. Some of them were given the opportunity to sit for certification while they were in Barbados but failed miserably.

  10. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Barbados: New Hospital?

  11. Confucius

    BFP: 25% of the current QEH issues are building/ equipment related – structural, electrical, parking and a few other issues while 75% of the current QEH issues are HR – attitudes, lack of accountability, no clinical audits and many other issues. While a new building will be a nice change on the other hand we the public will still be subjected to the left overs from the last era such as unmannerly nurses, lazy orderlies, doctors who give a suffering patient a two year appointment to have their fibroids removed (happened to a close member). At the QEH the most pressing issues (75%) are HR and until these issues are truly addressed we will all be subjected to the same service at another zip code. The more things are supposed to change the more they appear to be staying the same.

  12. BFP

    Hi Confucius,

    Yes I understand that… but look at the photos. Better yet walk in and look around. Go ahead… no one will stop you.

    It is true that we have huge HR problems, but we’re never going to regularly attract first class candidates with the place as it is. Barbados is a beautiful place to live but we can’t hope to attract well qualified medical personnel with the QEH facilities. It’s a non-starter for recruitment.

  13. Hants

    BFP says “Barbados is a beautiful place to live”.

    At least there is one thing we agree on absolutely and unequivocaly.

    Wish I was there.

  14. Hants

    Time to do some serious begging and start a lottery to raise funds.

    That is how hospitals get a lot of additional funding in North America.

    Lotteries,casinos and slots in Ontario contribute large amounts of cash for Hospitals.

    Rich people also donate millions.

    Cowperate Barbados how about donating state of the art operating theatres?
    They could be real Bizzy.

  15. Hants

    Please release me let me go,or I won’t love you any more.
    moderation again?

  16. Raising some of the money by

    1…. getting the B’dos Turf Club to pay back the 20 million tax relief they got.

    2…Removing the free bus fare and camps for school children. What was fly doing before dog ear get stink?

    3…Leaving the BNB in the hands of the Trinidadians and do not try to buy it back.

    4…Stop spending money on attracting Tourist from China and concentrate on cutting advertising costs.

    5….Forgetting about LIAT and back the ferries that want to operate in our waters. This will help bring our food cost down and proper meals can be served at the QEH. It is really bad there.

    6….Hiring competent staff at the QEH who will put the hospital first instead of politics.

    7….Making all the contractors who have gotten monies for doing shoddy work or no work at all to pay the government back.

    8….Look at the working practices of the BWA when it takes 4-6 men to fix a broken pipe when 1-2 are needed including the driver who should be able to help rather than look on.

    9…..Stop making the public feel that everything is free including the houses that were given to them by the state.

    10….Collect all the outstanding rents that are owed by the tenants of the NHC.

  17. BFP

    Hi Hants

    Casinos, lottery, slots…. all trigger words for the spam filters. Nothing we can do about it, like “XXX” or “GIRLS!” the spam filter grabs it until we find it.

    Now you are free. Wanta kiss and make up? 🙂

  18. Young Bajan

    Islandgal246 don’t stop with that list cause we all know there is more that could be done. Supporting those points.

  19. Crusoe

    According to today’s Saturday Sun, it is now clear that we do not need a new hospital.

    Not now that we have persons rising from the dead in the current hospital morgue!

    Maybe we can advertise this internationally?

    ‘Bring you recently departed to Barbados and have them rise in our morgue!’

    After all, if patient care is deteriorating and hazardous, as many say, then focus on having them rise from the dead instead!!!!