Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner??and??Deputy High Commissioner to London, Donville Johnson during a presentation of walkers and glucometers to the QEH.??(J. Gill/BGIS)

With over $4.5 million owed to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), that health care institution is taking steps to encourage those persons who are in arrears, to settle their debts.

This was revealed today by Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner, who said she was putting Barbadians on notice that the QEH would be pursuing debtors.

Speaking following a donation of equipment and supplies to the health care institution by Barbadians living in the United Kingdom, Senator Sandiford-Garner stated, "Barbadians, who know that they owe the Queen Elizabeth Hospital money… we will be actively and aggressively pursuing the debt owed."

She added: "I think it is unconscionable that our people would have the benefit of one of the best, if not the best, general hospital in the Eastern Caribbean, and leave that institution and not pay their debt. I know there have been reports that some people have

attempted to pay and their money has not been accepted. That is debatable. But, if that is the case, we would wish you to come back and pay the QEH the money owed."

Explaining that it was a significant amount of money owed to the QEH, Senator Sandiford-Garner indicated the institution would be seeking payment dating from 2005 onwards, in the first instance.

She stressed: "We have taken steps to alert our debt collectors and we will also be using the avenue of the mass media to find those whom we do know owe. Because there are some people who would have come to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and accessed services and they would not have given their correct addresses, which makes it difficult to find them.

"These things are happening in this island and we have reached the point where we are saying there is zero tolerance level now for you coming here and exiting and not paying. We are also putting systems in place to ensure in the not-too-distant future that when you do come to the QEH and you are going to access services which you have to pay for, you will pay before you receive those services. Just as you cannot check into a hotel and check out without paying, the QEH is moving to the stage where we will have a revenue generation system which indicates that when you come you pay for the services rendered."

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