At a meeting convened by Minister of Health, John Boyce, on Tuesday, December 2, the Ministry of Health endorsed a number of understandings between the executive of the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners (BAMP) and the executive management of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH).

The QEH management team and BAMP have agreed that in the spirit of forging improved communications and building a partnership between the doctors and hospital administration, monthly meetings will be held to share information on the operations of the QEH. The date and time for the first meeting is to be determined by the two parties.

To address the cash-flow challenges of the QEH, and to allow that institution to meet its commitments to suppliers, the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners has been assured that negotiations to secure funding of $25 million are quite advanced, and will be completed within the next two weeks.

These funds will be complemented by weekly transfers from the Treasury Department to the QEH to guarantee a continuous flow of service. It is anticipated that these measures will allow the QEH to meet its obligations on a timely basis and minimise any major inventory shortages in the future.

With regard to the implementation of a system to improve inventory management at the QEH, the Chief Executive Officer has committed to undertake immediate action to update the already installed SmartStream Supplies Management software.

This includes inventory for the Operating Theatres, Laboratory, Pharmacy and the Food and Central Stores. The management of the QEH will also expand the level of clerical support to these areas to ensure that the integrity of the system is maintained. These improvements are anticipated to be fully operational by December 31, 2014.

The Ministry acknowledges that a more sustainable economic model for financing health care is necessary for the long term provision of the quality health services to which Barbadians have become accustomed. The Ministry of Health has committed to finalise a concept paper on options for financing health care.

This is to be submitted to Cabinet by January 31, 2015, for its consideration. This paper will form the basis for national discussion.

Author: Ministry of Health/BGIS

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