New Barbados hospital announced? It’s election time again!

Taking their lead from BLP tactics, the DLP delivers another worthless election promise…

“The Government has finally seen the wisdom of the BLP’s Cabinet decision of October 2007, when we agreed and I stated publicly, that there was a need to construct a new general hospital in Barbados,”

…former Health Minister Dr. Jerome Walcott outrageously tells The Nation he is “vindicated“.

In October 2007 after 14 years as a majority government where they spent our money on everything except the hospital and other vital infrastructure,  the Barbados Labour Party promised to build a new hospital.

It was a last minute election promise by the corrupt Owen Arthur government. This was the same government that blew a billion dollars in a failed attempt to nationalize our tourism industry through the failed Hotels and Resorts GEMS project. This was the same government that borrowed tens of millions for the West Coast waste treatment facility – and then spent the money on something else. The same BLP government that spent three hundred million dollars on the disastrous Cricket World Cup.

By 2007 the BLP had spent our money on follies and left us with nothing to build a new hospital. In desperation they promised it anyway as the election approached. Anything for votes.

Now our current DLP government announces a new hospital after four years of dithering and doing nothing. No plans. No land. Not even a planning committee struck. The DLP has done nothing in the last four years to advance a new hospital.

Surprise, surprise… next year is an election year

As one of our readers asked in our post Barbados Queen Elizabeth Hospital cannot pay millions owed to suppliers

“If they can’t find money to pay suppliers where are they going to find money to construct a new hospital?”

We’ve needed a new hospital for at least 20 years. Responsible government would have started real work and planning long ago.

I don’t believe Health Minister Inniss any more than I believed Health Minister Walcott back in 2007. Neither have anything more than words. Such fine talk these politicians deliver as the election approaches.

I am so tired of this same old, same old – and nothing will change if we continue to vote the same BLP/DLP bunch back into office.

Dear Prime Minister Stuart:

Pass the promised Integrity Legislation before we even think of an 800 million dollar new hospital.

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29 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Health, Politics

29 responses to “New Barbados hospital announced? It’s election time again!

  1. Morning Star

    Maybe the money (and labour) is coming from China. We didn’t send Sandiford all the way to Beijing for just that paltry $6m he has delivered so far, you know.

  2. Sunny Knight

    I hope they maintain this one as well as the last.

  3. millertheanunnaki

    @ Sunny Knight:
    Maintain which new one?

    I, and probably, you, will leave this earthly plane before this project materialises. Can’t you see that voters are being taken for a ride on the back of a donkey until the next general elections where we will be unceremoniously dumped and dismissed?

    Any project that has been in the works /pipeline for so long must by now have more substance to it than just the already known raison d’ étre for a new hospital. What we want to hear and see are the plans for its foundation and erection, i.e, location, financing options, timeline. We don’t want the details just something we can rely on and buy into rather than a mere electioneering promise.
    Are we waiting for another disaster or a serious compromise of the current plant’s capacity to function effectively in order to realize the paramount importance of a well functioning national health institution? How can we treat this matter so carelessly in light of our boastful claim to near achieving first world status and as a major tourist destination for first world visitors.

  4. 46

    @Morning Star
    $6 million what?
    You mean the new scoreboard plus the salary of the Chinaman that’s going to teach us all Mandarin.
    Sandi needs to relocate to Taiwan.

  5. 93

    A new hospital, WHAT FOR? They can’t run or pay the bills in the old one, Promises, Promises ??? Any one with any ‘jack’ goes to Miami anyway, and, of course, the ‘tourist hospital’ planned for St Joseph’s is not for the locals ( unless they have ‘jack’)

  6. Peter Griffin's Bajan Brother

    Announced to the wife yesterday my plans for a US$4 million villa for the both of us, to be constructed on the West Coast.

    At the moment I don’t have any land, plans, blocks, tiles, cement or money, but I announced my intention to secure funding from the NIS and the Chinese Government, and I’m going to be holding a press conference tomorrow to try and embarrass them into giving me the money.

    Seed capital is to be procured from various shady Canadians, who will be allowed to use the swimming pool at weekends under a BOLT arrangement.

    It’s kept the wife quiet for Saturday evening and here’s hoping most of Sunday morning…

  7. John

    No strategic planning …. same with water.

    Fail to plan …. plan to fail.

  8. Observing

    Let’s face it, a new hospital is necessary. The only reason it’s taken the DLP so long to PUBLICLY come around to acknowledge this is that the spent so much political capital rubbishing the idea three years ago.

    Estwick acknowledged it and paid for that with his ministry. The current plant is old, badly maintained and badly sited for contemporary Barbados. Let’s be adults at least about that.

    As for finding money? I have less of a problem about borrowing for capital works, than I do for current expenditure. If we were borrowing money to build a new CN tower in ST. Lucy I would be kicking and screaming with the best of them, but let’s be real here the QEH is past its sell by date.

  9. 225

    I am aware that this current Minister did put ogether a team to look at possible sites and already as had discusons with potential financiers – albeit exploratory. There was great resistence from some in DLP, but Minister Inniss pressed on and convinced his colleagues. At least he is a Minister who gets some things done and is not all talk.

  10. 100

    I thought we were building a new hospital to increase the Number of sick beds in Barbados. The media is saying that the QEH is being replaced, but wouldn’t that defeat the purpose?

  11. Sparkling

    @ John
    “No strategic planning …. same with water.”

    Would you be so kind as to elaborate with the reference to water?

  12. Sunshine Sunny Shine

    We had the money for the hospital but we spent it up Dodds, On the highway, on Gems, on that big white elephant call Kensington and few more millions that we are yet to find in various pockets around the world.

  13. Luc

    This could be a very good thing for Bim. With vision and a good plan, medical tourism is something Barbados could do very, very well.

  14. watcher

    @Luc

    Check out this link http://www.barbadosadvocate.com/newsitem.asp?NewsID=18563

    There is a conference on medical tourism in Barbados early December. If you read the article you will see that St. Josephs is scheduled to become a hospital for medical tourism and welff off Barbados residents. The article goes on to say that the patients will come from UK, and North America and Barbados residents who want private health care and and surgery.

    There is either a national health care system or there is not. Having one system for the rich and another for those not so rich is not national heath care. Allowing residents to leave the island for care and surgical procedures is one thing, but allowing them to buy better surgical services on a local basis means there will never be the focus necessary to continue to improve the system for the greater population. Those in power will not be going to QEH. If we want improvement in QEH or its replacement, then ban all private hospitals.

  15. John

    Sparkling

    Check Senn 1946, Barbados Water Resources Report 1978 and you will see there is a limit on easily available water resources, 44mgd if memory serves me right.

    Check 1978 report and see projection of demand to outstrip supply by 1995/1996.

    Check economic and social report and you will see BWA output has stuck since then.

    Check ability of “desal” plant to add to output ….I reckon if its output gets to 7 mgd, 6 will be fresh water taken from the existing water resources.

    … and yet since 1995 we have had golf courses and rumours of golf courses and construction of housing with its demand for water is seen as the cats whiskers!!

    I reckon that BWA has got around the limit by the metering programme in 1998 and improved leak detection and repair.

  16. Observing

    John,
    you neglect to include that golf courses are required to show how they source their own water independently of the national system. Sandy Lane has its own private desal plant, and Apes Hill uses water capture.

    It is because of the limits in the earlier reports that you cite that the desal plant was built.

    I do think that you don’t have all of the information on this.

    However yes there have been strategic blunders with the BWA the main one is when the Government moved it’s capital works fund into the consolidated fund. This was back in the 80’s I think. But the BWA has never recovered from that blow.w

  17. Beefcake

    Problem with QEH is that there are not enough beds for patients, capacity at Emergency, structure at admissions, policy regarding abandoned patients (elderly and children), and cosmetics.

    Any new facility will not solve these problems, including the latter, since it will be nice and clean on day 1, but the maintenance budget will be diverted to salaries and supplies.

    Medical services in Barbados need funds to be redirected from tertiary education, wastage spending by the overseas offices, and maintaining the luxury lifestyle of the aristocratic politicians and senior civil servants.

    Barbados needs another hospital, more towards the Speightstown area to handle emergencies in the northern half of the island. Additional bed capacity can be there too. If the eye care center is doing well and needs extra capacity, then move the surgical theatres for planned surgery to the new facility.

    The worst part of the process is that politicians are involved with the hospital planning, where it should be driven by the medical practitioners.

    I suppose, given how politicians are self-glorifying, a St. Peter hospital will probably be named after King Arthur…

  18. John

    Observing

    October 31, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    John,
    you neglect to include that golf courses are required to show how they source their own water independently of the national system. Sandy Lane has its own private desal plant, and Apes Hill uses water capture.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Apes Hill and Westmoreland are in what is called the Porters Catchment.

    This catchment is referred to in the 1978 water resources study as providing about 2mgd to the 44mgd limit. At the time, this catchment remained largely untapped except that Portvale Sugar Factory used one of the wells formerly used by Porters during the crop season.

    The national system thus includes the Porters catchment.

    The Farmers dam is in what is called the Trents catchment and at the top. It was mooted as the solution to the flooding in Holetown.

    Holetown flooded despite the dam … simply because during the wet season the whole catchment gets rained on and the runoff is through Holetown!!

    So much for the mooters!!

    Any old time planter or labourer could have told them so.

    However that particular area of the Trents catchment that has been dammed is the highest part and its importance is during the dry season when of all the land in the Trents Catchment, this land gets rain.

    This is the land that provides the water to Trents during the dry season to delay salt water intrusion.

    As you can see, there is no way that Apes Hill or Westmoreland can show a source of water independent of the national system!!!

    Sandy Lane is in a separate catchment, the Norwoods catchment which can provide less than a million gallons per day.

    As you might remember Owen Arthur received the “Piggies at the trough” award for rezoning this area.

    This prestigious and coveted award has never been given to anyone else since so brilliant was his feat.

    Check and see at what concentration of dissolved solids in parts per million the desal plant at Sany Lane works.

    Sea water is 35,000 ppm dissolved solids, the “desal plant” at Brighton was specified at 5000ppm if I remember correctly.

    The lower the specifed ppm limit the more fresh water required ….. and that fresh water comes from the national system!!

  19. St George's Dragon

    As the Goverment has no money and little opportunity to borrow these days, the new hospital contract is bound to be some form of BOLT, PPP etc., with finance provided by the private sector.
    Two things:
    1. We need a proper study on the way forward including a “public sector comparator” (ie what would be the base cost if the Government raised the money and built the hospital itself). That means we will know what the cost of finance would be and can measure whether we are getting a good deal from the private sector.
    2. I would urge the Minister not to look at any form of deal unless future maintenance is included. That way, we can be sure it will actually be carried out. Yes, it means there will be a bill attached but at least we won’t be in a situation again in a few year’s time when the lifts don’t work. Its relatively simple to arrange the contract so payments to the hospital provider get scaled back depending on whether the maintenence is up to standard or not. No lifts working? Dock $500,000 a month from the payments.

  20. The Watcher!

    Another hospital? For what? To let the incompetent and useless not to mention utterly unmannerly staff that now infest the QEH come over there to man this one?
    Or do we need a facility masquerading as hospital for the drug companies and their lackeys to test their poisons on while an elite few derive the profits associated with lying in bed with these UN-scruptulous entities? Haven’t we been here before? Embarking on Capital Works projects with no real or perceived value. When will this administration learn that funneling tax payer dollars into the hands of the few “well heeled” individuals under the guise of providing employment is an old philosophy now as endearing to the public as a “stupid pet trick” is, and that the public if only by their constant invasion of the Internet are now able to see through these smoke-screens much more easily than they did before.
    No new hospital!
    No more round-abouts, Ministry of Round-Abouts and Wrong Turns, and no more tax dollar wasting propping up those of the “Lighter Persuasion”!
    Our bidding hasn’t been done after almost 5 years of administration and elections are soon here.
    Time to remove some chaff from the wheat and lets start to eat!

  21. millertheanunnaki

    @ Watcher:
    I like it!! You are really on the watch like an eagle looking down for prey or a mongoose on the look out.
    You are able to look beyond the superficial crap emanating from the backsides of the political donkeys and see the real motives and designs of these fraudsters.

  22. Luc

    @watcher:
    I do not agree with you that private and public health care can’t co-exist well. I for one would not trust any government (nor their bean-counters) to look out for my personal health. It is a certainty that if you put $100 into a public health care system you will not get $100 of value out of it. So trying to offer free health care for all would require almost unlimited funds from some source other than personal income taxes. Public health care should be targeted at those who can’t afford medical care. Those who can afford to pay for their own medical care should take responsibility for their health and support those who can’t.
    Water seeks it’s own level. And having one or more strong centres of excellence in medical care on the island will help to improve medical care on the whole island. It will provide more opportunity for graduates to pursue careers in medicine and related services. It diversifies our economy away from direct hotel industry, yet in a way that is compatible with the five star hotel services we’ve done in the past. Barbados, is naturally a great place to recuperate and should take advantage of that. It is quite feasible for example that a UK resident have their medical care in Barbados paid for by their national health care system ( the NHS). Agreements for that are already in place.
    There is no rule that says nationals can’t be offered free care in a private hospital.
    My personal preference would be that preventive care is used more and that all nationals would pay about 20% of their routine medical costs (to preserve some level of personal vigilance on the service), but capped so that very expensive care is 100% free.

  23. Anonymous

    ” It is quite feasible for example that a UK resident have their medical care in Barbados paid for by their national health care system ( the NHS). Agreements for that are already in place.”

    Your’e joking right?

    There’s a Reciprocal Health Agreement in place that allows tourists emergency care at the QEH or Polyclinics (and Bajan tourists emergency care in the UK), but it is never going to extend to sending British grannies to Barbados for hip replacements.

  24. wanna

    DLP Flipfloppers!! I thought Dr. david Estwick said that there will be no new hospital now Inniss coming with a different story??
    Do they actually conduct any studies or do they just say whatever comes to mind?
    We do not need a new hospital. We need the problems at the QEH fixed and managed. If there is a need for more space build an annex near by or something.

  25. watcher

    @LUC

    Have a look around the world and see where the great health care systems are and how they are structured. Two tier health care within a countries own borders simply means that the right to be treated quickly and thus the right to live is based on $. So if you are born rich, you will have better health care than if you are born poor. This will never bring focus onto what are inadequate systems.

  26. Sunny Knight

    @millertheannunaki
    There is always more in the mortar than the pestle when it comes to politics – anywhere, anytime. I probably should have been a bit more explicit to begin with, but you already made the point for me. The matter of health care, especially for a country that is (1) hellbent on claiming First World status,(2) demanding greater levels of productivity from its workers, (3) boasting of its high quality of life, and of course, (4) promoting health tourism – it always comes back to the tourists – has to be an urgent thing.
    Yet, there is a big BUT. The QEH is a handicapped facility precisely because of governmental mismanagement. From my understanding, the QEH has been in order for a proper maintenance program to check the rate of deterioration at the institution, but for the hospital’s administrators the rule of thumb seems to be ‘why prevent what you can cure later’?
    I guess privatization is always an option … but that means making health care less affordable and less accessible to the general public. As a small island developing state, taking on the challenge of delivering free health care to citizens is a noteworthy effort – not even the United States has that amongst its list of credits.
    Stupse … I just wanted to say though, you called it right. How can the same government, which to date has not ameliorated the plight of tropical storm Tomas’ victims two years on, make good on an $800 billion promise in my lifetime? I am sure glad it wasn’t a hurricane.

  27. Demise of the U.S. Dollar (and the Bajan Monopoly Money along with it)

    A large problem will be that, when the dust settles on the Middle East,
    and new governments reform previous agreements,
    oil might no longer be priced with the U.S. Dollar.

    In effect, this will be absolutely catastrophic!
    The fall of the U.S. dollar will be effective immediately
    and the country will be too entrenched in debt to do anything about it.
    There seems to be a dearth of viable options for the U.S.
    who is the world’s largest oil user -and for Europe.

    Sitting on a time bomb that can plunge their currency and economy into the Stone Age, they have a few tough decisions to make.

    And so does Barbados.
    Are we ready for that? Of course not.

  28. Luc

    @watcher: Have a look around the world and see where the great health care systems are and how they are structured.
    Which examples are you reffering to?

  29. love one another

    Come on Barbados set the man Garcia that is pirison in Philip free. he must be freed.,he is not a criminal. he is not a duug Lord.