Barbados Health Minister admits hospital lacks inventory control of medical equipment, assets

Another one of those “don’t know whether to laugh or cry” stories about our illustrious DLP leadership.

by Nevermind Kurt

Health Minister Donville Inniss (photo above) just let the cat out of the bag: after four years of DLP government and 14 years of BLP government, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital still has no computerized inventory system for assets – including super expensive medical equipment. Un-freaking-believable!

Minister Inniss was giving one of the DLP’s famous “this is what we’re gonna do” speeches and that is laugh or cry time right there. After four years he should be giving a “This is what we’ve done” speech – but with the election fast approaching it’s the same old story as Ministers again try to portray that words, ideas and promises are real action.

“There will also be the development of an equipment inventory…”

After four years in power the DLP have suddenly realized that no one has a clue about what assets and medical equipment we have, and the assets’ location, condition and actual value. You will note that the Minister’s speech about this is all in the future tense, as in “We’re going to start to develop this inventory system.”

Have a read for yourself…

The Health Minister further revealed that there will also be the development of an equipment inventory of the medical equipment by the Information Systems Department and other authorities for the evaluation, monitoring and management of all health technology in the polyclinics.

“This Assets Management Electronic Database containing all essential information on each medical device will be kept and used for accountability and transparency for all of our equipment,” Inniss added.

Assets Management 101 for DLP Government Dummies

Hospital assets management has gone way beyond barcodes!

It is the height of incompetence and negligence that our government and health system and hospital administrators have not had a computerized assets inventory system in place for the past ten years – or three years.

What would it take? I know nothing about hospital assets management, but at the company I used to work for they have little silver “can’t remove” stickers with barcodes on every piece of equipment. Twice a year someone comes through with a barcode reader plugged into a laptop and zap! The list is made. If a piece of equipment is transferred to another division it’s a change in the database. If particular items are prone to going missing, or certain divisions lose too much equipment it shows up as a pattern. Easy.

I’ll bet there are many canned solutions out there. Just a minute, I’ll check…

Yup. I Googled “hospital asset management system” and there are 12 million hits, with hundreds of software systems for sale. Some track the assets automatically by radio tag like shoplifting stickers.

What would it take to list and evaluate the top five hospital assets management systems? Two months? Six months, tops? Good lord, this is 2012! Why haven’t we had this since 2000? Any damn fool knows that inventory management systems in business pay for themselves. I learned that one day when I didn’t fall asleep in business class.

Donville Inniss promises “I will no longer accept mediocrity.”

At least Inniss is honest enough to admit that for the past four years he and his DLP government have been accepting – and delivering – mediocrity.

Further Reading

Here is the news article from the Barbados Advocate that our story is based upon. We’re forced to reprint it in its entirety because the Barbados Advocate has a history of destroying its own archives and changing news stories without keeping copies of old versions.

Please go to the Barbados Advocate to read the story, and only continue reading here if the BA story is missing…

Better health records

1/8/2012

By Tanya Lightbourne

The age-old challenge of missing patients’ notes and delays in obtaining medical reports in the public health care system must no longer persist, says Minister of Health, Donville Inniss.

“This is 2012 and we must get real! We have been talking about it for far too long,” he stressed during the handing over ceremony of new medical equipment to Warrens Polyclinic on Friday.

According to Inniss, the QEH was recently given instructions to go to tender and procure services for electronic patient records.

“As Minister, I have requested twice monthly status reports on this project as I will no longer accept mediocrity. There is too much at stake here,” he asserted.

He also revealed that they are currently working towards the further strengthening of primary health care services by providing digital radiography and medical radiology services at related polyclinics, starting the upcoming fiscal year 2012/2013.

“From this year it is expected that doctors in the polyclinic system will be able to sit in their offices and see the X-rays of patients referred to QEH and elsewhere for such services. The days of waiting extended periods for results for such investigations must come to an end with haste.

“The delivery of quality and affordable health services to Barbadians is a task that cannot be postponed,” he expressed.

The Health Minister further revealed that there will also be the development of an equipment inventory of the medical equipment by the Information Systems Department and other authorities for the evaluation, monitoring and management of all health technology in the polyclinics.

“This Assets Management Electronic Database containing all essential information on each medical device will be kept and used for accountability and transparency for all of our equipment,” Inniss added.̚

16 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Health, Politics

16 responses to “Barbados Health Minister admits hospital lacks inventory control of medical equipment, assets

  1. Anonymous

    Pity the poor doctors and nurses that must work under the incompetent Administration at QEH lacking tools and support for their duties..
    It must be very trying

  2. jrjrjrjr

    So why didn’t previous Health Ministers address this serious problem ?

  3. Voter Apathy is my name

    Why?
    Because ALL Administrations are wealthy BigUps and care not one whit for QEH
    They fly out of the country when the sand hits their medical fan.
    Come on…you knew that already!

    Both Bees and Dees want firing. USELESS lot of opportunists, both parties.

    Where is the alternative third party? The Commies at Cave Hill?
    Pep or POP or whatever they call themselves? lol
    We are in deep doodoo!

  4. Green Monkey

    On the topic of Health Care…….
    What is the sense of spending millions on buying and tracking hospital equipment while with modern factory farming techniques and the increasing use of GMOs we are destroying the microorganisms in our soil vital to providing food with an adequate nutritional content which can reasonably be expected to support our bodies’ immune systems.

    When a Chinese company or business pollutes the food supply with poisonous additives, holy hell breaks loose at the corrupt, anti-human, greedy attitude that would put monetary profit above the health and well being of the consumers who ingested their poisonous product. When North American agribusinesses pollute the worlds food supply and destroy agricultural soils with their patented seeds and poisons, the sheep just go, “Baaah, baah, baaah, Please Sir, Can we have some more? When we get cancer and other life threatening and degenerative diseases from forcing our bodies to try to sustain life from lifeless, nutritionally depleted, chemically laced foods, we’ll just go to our new 800,miillion dollar hospital and get government provided CAT scans, radiation treatments and chemotherapy at the cost of god only knows how many more millions of dollars. Baah, baah, baah,”

    The Hidden Epidemic Destroying Your Gut Flora

    Dr. Don Huber is an expert in an area of science that relates to the toxicity of genetically engineered (GE) foods. (Alternative terms for GE foods include genetically modified (GM), or “GMO” for genetically modified organism.) His specific areas of training include soil-borne diseases, microbial ecology, and host-parasite relationships. Dr. Huber also taught plant pathology, soil microbiology, and micro-ecological interactions as they relate to plant disease as a staff Professor at Purdue University for 35 years.

    snip

    Food Quality is Related to Soil Quality

    The quality of the food is almost always related to the quality of the soil. The most foundational and critical components of the soil are the microorganisms that thrive there—more so than the necessary nutrients, because it’s the microorganisms that allow the plants to utilize those nutrients.

    http://permaculture.org.au/2011/12/24/the-hidden-epidemic-destroying-your-gut-flora/#more-6799
    (copy and paste link into browser)

  5. Sunshine Sunny Shine

    The politicians when making statements of state owned institutions would do best to think about the statements they want to make before making them. All they do is expose their ‘slip’ and tell Barbadians and now the world reading that we indeed do not act until it reaches crisis proportions. In essence we are saying that our planning is more spontaneous than it is long term and carefully thought out. A perfect example is Barbados’ current road woes. When we observe what is happening the message conveyed is one that tells me that planning of our road works designs is almost arbirtrary and second guess as oppose to long term developmental. I do not know what were the plans fifty years ago or if those plans mapped the topography of our landscape. But what seems to coming over to me (subjecting myself to correction) is the current road system has to work with housing and commercial buildings already establish in areas that could make for good straight roads. Did early planning took into account domestic housing and commercial enterprises in a carefully planned mappings system that dictates certain areas are designated for road work implementation and requires all other possible developments liasing with road work planners and designers?. Maybe it is being carried out now but there is still that piece of crap where new roads are built and paved and utility services come thereafter to install there lines and equipment leaving the road in a badly patched state and predispose it to pot hole development.

  6. St George's Dragon

    There was a request for bids issued a couple of years ago for a consultant to prepare a database.of the QEH assets. It was so badly put together that it was not worth responding to. It was not possible to see whether they were looking at the main hospital plant, the equipment in the hospital, or both. Also equipment comes in a number of categories and they didn’t specify what categories were to be included in the survey.
    As this artcle says. it would be normal to have some form of software system to input the data into; I don’t believe there was any reference to this in the bid documentation, so it was not clear the form of the survey input / documentation.
    I took the view at the time that it was either complete incompetence and unpriceable, or that someone’s mate had already been given (or bought ) the job.

  7. St George's Dragon

    …. but, I am not sure I agree with the point behind this post.
    Of course you can question the timing but better, I think, to have a Minister who does something to correct a problem, than one who does nothing at all.

  8. Wily Coyote

    Inventory System! what the F_ _K would you use da for…… only cost a lot of $$$$$$$ and it would be useless in the hands of the bureaucrats that operate the Country(They know as Politician’s) or da QEHospital (Administrators). Tools are designed for use by intelligent individuals not carpet/dirt baggers. Using hard earned foreign $$$$$$ to buy any kind of mediocre technology is a waste of time for Third World Barbados. There are numerous if not hundreds of examples of Barbados trying to solve their Third World Problems with technology that have went the way of the Dodo bird.

  9. Wily Coyote

    @Barbados Free Press
    “Further Reading

    Here is the news article from the Barbados Advocate that our story is based upon. We’re forced to reprint it in its entirety because the Barbados Advocate has a history of destroying its own archives and changing news stories without keeping copies of old versions.”

    The original Barbados Advocate article was referencing Patient Records and not Inventory Control, before you take negative swipe at the Advocate make sure you are quoting oranges and not apples. I’m not an Advocate lover, however the negative Advocate comment was not justified in this situation.

  10. Newbie

    If Mr Inniss no longer accepts mediocrity he should resign from the DLP.
    Transparency and accountability for equipment, WHAT A JOKE,
    How about TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY FOR THE ACTIONS OF GOVERNMENT MINISTERS. He must love the sound of the words but knows not their meaning.

    @ voter apathy, I am with you
    Both Bees and Dees want firing. USELESS lot of opportunists, both parties.

  11. Winkler

    Wily Coyote has it wrong. The Barbados Advocate story contained a section about inventory that is quoted by BFP:

    “The Health Minister further revealed that there will also be the development of an equipment inventory of the medical equipment by the Information Systems Department and other authorities for the evaluation, monitoring and management of all health technology in the polyclinics.

    “This Assets Management Electronic Database containing all essential information on each medical device will be kept and used for accountability and transparency for all of our equipment,” Inniss added.̚”

    The story came from a press conference where Europe gave some medical equipment to Barbados. The Health Minister spoke at the conference about computerization and access to medical records, and also about the computerization of inventory, so BFP’s story is right on the mark.

    It is a joke that the government and the hospital administration have been pretending for the last four years to be administering the hospital without an inventory control system. This is as basic as walking: without an inventory system you cannot be said to be “managing” anything.

    The Health Minister’s admission is an appalling confirmation that both the government and the civil service have absolutely no idea what they are doing. There is no plan. There is no leadership. The Minister’s remarks also prove that this situation was the case throughout the BLP administration that preceded the current government.

    These people cannot be said to be fulfilling even the basic requirements of managers. Appalling.

  12. Winkler

    I would like to add to my comment that after four years in control there is no acceptable excuse by Health Minister Inniss and his government. The cost of this inventory control system is nothing compared to the loss of assets and inability to properly manage the hospital that must be happening in the absence of the required management tools.

    The Minister obviously isn’t knowledgeable enough realize how his speech was nothing more or less than an appalling admission of his own incompetence.

  13. Golden Goose -wunnuh done kill me!

    How difficult could it be to get an inventory control thing going??

    Every QEH Head of Dept. submits a STOCK-TAKING report
    and Head Office does a spread-sheet of ‘What We Have’
    -this, on yer average everyday computer running Windoze XP.
    It’s a start! (-would like to think such a basic already exists?)

    It may not be great or hi-tech, but it would suffice IN THE INTERIM
    to get a handle on what we HAVE in hand, no?

    It’s time for us to stop pretending we have Big Bucks for Ideal Solutions
    and get on with practical low-cost alternatives
    but there I go again

  14. Peter Piper

    I am no sure what Miniser Inniss has ever done to the owners of BFP. He is he most attacked Minister of he DP by this blog site. It seems very personal in nature. Yet he is one of the most prodctive Ministers.

    BFP has it totally wrong here. Minister Inniss clearly referred to a lack of a good inventory system in the POLYCLINICS – he never commented on a system for the QEH. The reality is that most government departments have no idea of what they own and any attempts to do so should be commended.

    I invite all readers to go read the speech in its entirety and to just for yourself. BFP is deliberately wicked and misleading.

    BTW – the QEH does have an inventory system – even if it is not perfect.

    Le us give jack his jacket. Even though you folks at BFP and BLP seem to personally dislike Minister Inniss – at least he has the balls to call a spade a spade and to get things done. In 3 years time he has done more positive things for the health sector than Jerome Walcott and the BLP did for 14 years.

  15. Mac

    Back in November Dr Mufti, Head of Medical services resigned. What’s happening with that position?? Any answers?

  16. Morlock

    OMG – Ian Bourne has opened a new hole in Donville!

    http://www.bajanreporter.com/2012/07/barbados-cabinet-minister-attacks-bajan-reporter-at-dlp-stronghold-makes-false-accusation-with-no-apology/

    I bet Pornville sorry he mash Mr Bourne’s corns now?