Minister of Health, Donville Inniss????

It is costing government a whopping $52 000 a year to provide dialysis treatment to one kidney patient and a further $100 000 a month to outsource dialysis services in the private sector.

Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, made this revelation today, during a press conference following a tour of the Barbados Defence Force’s Hyperbaric Chamber and Mass Casualty Facility, at its St. Ann’s Fort, the Garrison, St. Michael Headquarters.

Acknowledging that dialysis treatment represented a huge financial burden on government, he said these figures excluded the cost of buildings and other supporting infrastructure.

While he pledged to provide quality health care to Barbadians, Mr. Inniss said: "That is an astronomical cost to tax payers. We cannot accommodate all Barbadians who need dialysis and as a consequence, arrangements had been made over the last few years for patients to receive dialysis treatment in the private sector and this is not cheap," Mr. Inniss underlined.

He further stated that: "For the time being, there is a commitment to continue these services even though more patients are being added to the list every month."

The Minister of Health observed that he was pleased with the work being done by the Chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s (QEH) board and other support staff for facilitating the needs of dialysis patients.

Nonetheless, Mr. Inniss urged Barbadians to exercise greater vigilance when it came to their well being. "This should be an eye-opener for Barbadians to take better care of their health. At the end of the day, if you as an individual, do not pay attention to your health, you will be forced into a situation where it will cost tax payers a considerable amount of money to deal with you in a crisis situation."

Meanwhile, Chairman of the QEH Board, Reverend Guy Hewitt, gave the assurance that steps had been taken to correct the problems with the dialysis machines.

"We have put measures in place to ensure that this does not happen again. There are a number of challenges which I think everybody is aware that has taken place in the QEH. A lot of them will not be solved in a week or a month …," he observed.

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