|Zissimos Vargos, Head of Social Development Section, EU (centre-left), hands over medical equipment to Dr. Heather Harewood, Medical Officer of Health (far right), at the??Warrens Polyclinic today while??Minister of Health, Donville Inniss (centre-right)??and ??Eleanor Pollard, Senior Health Sister (Ag) (far left)??observe.?? (A.Gaskin/BGIS)
Government has taken another step towards the revitalization of this country’s primary health care system by providing polyclinics across the island with medical equipment considered essential to patient care.
According to Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, the initiative, which was funded by the European Union’s Ninth European Development Fund, should ensure less traffic in the Accident and Emergency Department of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) and decrease the waiting time of patients there.
"In the past, the QEH was overwhelmed by the number of patients that came for medical consultation for minor complaints, while the polyclinics were underutilized due to, amongst other things, a lack of both medical and non-medical equipment, and at times medication…" he stated. The Minister added that he hoped that "Barbadians would now elect to seek health care first at a polyclinic, rather than endure a long wait at the hospital for minor complaints".
Mr. Inniss also pointed out that while the cost of the equipment was some BDS $217,000, an additional BDS $83,000 had been allocated to train and certify over 60 medical and nursing staff at polyclinics in Urgent Care and Emergency Medicine. ??As a result, he has urged healthcare workers to "ensure the equipment is safely and judiciously used."
The Health Minister also noted that his Ministry was working to further strengthen primary health care services by providing digital radiography and medical radiology services at select polyclinics across the island, starting in the coming 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 X-rays of patients referred to the QEH and elsewhere for such services…
Likewise, the age old challenge of missing patients’ notes and delays in obtaining medical reports in the public healthcare system must no longer persist", the Minister stressed, adding that the management of the QEH had recently been given instructions to go to tender and procure services for electronic patient records.
The medical equipment handed over includes Vital Signs Monitors and accessories, Automated External Defibrillators and accessories, ECG Machines and accessories, Heavy Duty Nebulizers and accessories and Wall Mounted combined Ophthalmoscope and Otoscope and their accessories.??