Health and Wellness Minister, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic. (FP)

Minister of Health and Wellness, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic, told employees of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) last Saturday night that they must never forget that the patient was the most important person in the hospital.

“If we put the patient at the centre of it at all times, then all of our decisions, all of our thinking and all of our actions will reflect that care for the patient,” he said.

Addressing the workers at the 2019 R.E.S.P.E.C.T Awards and Cocktail Party, the Minister acknowledged that there were issues at the hospital, including an aging plant.

But he added: “I believe strongly that the QEH’s structure, as old as it is, there are still a lot of drinks in that old bottle.  We can still deliver a much higher quality of service in that same old building.”

He said that over the next year or two he intended to judge his own performance as Minister on his ability to reduce the numbers of people awaiting surgeries at any one time.

“This is an issue that people seem not to want to touch as though there is something sacred about it, but I want to say that it is not right, and we, the QEH and the Ministry of Health and Wellness, should not feel satisfied knowing that we are going to bed every night and that there are hundreds of Barbadians perhaps waiting for surgeries of one kind or another.”

He said that the notion that this was how it has always been did not resonate with him since people who paid taxes towards health care had a legitimate expectation to be provided with high-quality health care…. “So collectively, we are going to try to bring those numbers down,” he declared.

Minister Bostic congratulated the workers for their hard work in conditions which, from time to time, were not the best, and he reminded them that the QEH was nothing without the persons who worked in it.

“I have said to the Board that a critical component of what they are doing has to be what we call a hearts and minds campaign because we have to create the environment where people who are working in the hospital will feel the need to want to come to work, and when they come to work will actually enjoy what they are doing in terms of the provision of services.”

He urged that respect be given at all levels of the organization, from the Ministry to the Board to the management team to the supervisory staff to the workers and to patients, their relatives and friends.

“Without this respect, the service that we offer is devalued, and as that respect deteriorates, then that service is devalued to junk status…this is something that we must work on within the hospital,” Minister Bostic stated.

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