Minister of Health, Donville Inniss,??taking a look at some of the medical supplies used by Barbados Defence Force personnel??during a tour today.

A team of officials from the island’s main social services agencies will be meeting with Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, next week to address the problem of patient abandonment at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH).

This was announced by Mr. Inniss during a media briefing today at the Barbados Defence Force headquarters, at St. Ann’s Fort. He said personnel from the National Assistance Board, the Welfare Department and other social agencies would be invited to the session against the backdrop of four patients who had been left by relatives in the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department after being discharged by doctors.

Mr. Inniss also indicated that there were sick people, who had been admitted to the wards, but remained in the A&E Department, because of a lack of bed space. "If you go to the A&E now, I am told that there are about four individuals, who were discharged by the A&E staff, but their so-called loved ones have not come back to collect them.

"In a facility that has 25 beds, that is considerable pressure. There are other patients who have been admitted to the wards, but there are challenges with bed space.?? This is as a result of individuals who had been discharged for weeks or even months, whose relatives did not collect them," he revealed.

In chiding Barbadians for not taking care of their elderly relatives, Mr. Inniss stressed the social agencies "must step up to the plate and assist the QEH in this dilemma".

"I am not prepared to sit here as Minister of Health and have all of these challenges dumped on the Ministry.?? The state has a duty to assist these individuals and hence, it is regrettable that these citizens, in the evening of their days, continue to be dumped in health care institutions."??

In light of this situation, the Health Minister pledged to work more closely with the social institutions to alleviate the problem. "I hope that this a wakeup call for all Barbadians that we need to take care of our elderly. Anyone of us may be fortunate to live to age 65 and none of us would want our children to dump us," Mr. Inniss emphasised.

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