The expansion of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s (QEH) Accident and Emergency Department (A&E) is expected to commence shortly.
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley made the disclosure today, at Ilaro Court, at an event to celebrate a new partnership between the Government of Barbados and the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Canada, to establish the Shaw Centre for Paediatric Excellence, at the QEH.
The Centre will be used by Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, and it will be supported by the LesLois Shaw Foundation, in collaboration with the Clinton Foundation.
Ms. Mottley stated that Government had already given the hospital $10 million. She continued: “My Government recognizes that we have a responsibility, even in difficult fiscal times, to step up to the plate. It is against that background that the Government has taken a decision to ensure that the QEH as a whole be the recipient of a $30 million loan to re-equip critical aspects of the hospital’s equipment infrastructure.
“All of us would agree that in the area of health care, where technology evolves in the wink of an eye, and where the benefits from such technology make the difference between life and death, that we ought never to be in a similar situation where 10 years elapses again before we look at the equipment needs of our primary education institution. We hope we are not only giving them the opportunity to re-equip, but that we will be setting different standards as to how we treat to the hospital’s needs on an ongoing basis.”
The Prime Minister stressed that the money had been allocated at a time when the country did not have the fiscal space, but emphasized that it was done because the health of the nation matters.
She told her audience there was an outstanding project that she was about to approve whereby Government had committed $3 million to the QEH before the end of this fiscal year.
“I believe I was in the well of Parliament last year when I committed the Government of Barbados to work with the QEH to reduce the mortality rate for what you doctors call MI – myocardial infarction – which regrettably, for us in Barbados and the Caribbean, is at 37 per cent, while in the developed world it is at eight per cent.
“This is an unacceptable figure, and we have therefore determined that in addition to us taking a presentation at the CARICOM Heads of Government meeting next week from the leading cardiologist in the region, the Government of Barbados would proceed to make the difference by the expenditures that are necessary, from ambulances right back to adjustments within the A&E department,” she stated.
Ms. Mottley thanked all those involved in the new partnership as well the various trusts for making a meaningful difference in the lives of people here. She expressed the view that the country could not have easily gotten through the last decade without the philanthropic gifts those organizations placed at its disposal.
This seven-year partnership for long-term sustainable capacity building will establish a critical mass of health workers with expertise in paediatrics and high quality clinical environments; leverage a new skilled health workforce to improve quality of paediatric care; establish a culture of continuous improvement; and invest in research and advocacy that informs policy and drives sustainability.