Health Minister, Donville Inniss (left) and Chairman of the Board of the QEH, Rev. Guy Hewitt, in conversation at the ceremony to re-open the QEH’s cafeteria. (Image: A. Miller/BGIS)

A fully-refurbished cafeteria featuring new d??cor, kitchen and serving????

A fully-refurbished cafeteria featuring new d??cor, kitchen and serving facilities is now open at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH).

The spanking facility, built at a cost of $1.8 million, should start serving its first clients comprising staff, patients and visitors, from the middle of this week.

This was disclosed last Friday by Health Minister, Donville Inniss, as he addressed the official ceremony witnessed by QEH board members, staff and officials from the Ministry of Health.

Acknowledging that the cafeteria was "long overdue", Minister Inniss indicated that its opening was "a reflection of the commitment of the Government, the Ministry of Health and the Board to "getting it right here at the QEH."

While pointing out that a lot of negative things had been said about the hospital, Mr. Inniss stated when he first joined the Health Ministry in November 2008, his commitment, guide and directive to the Board [of the QEH] "was to work upon a strategy where you first sought to stabilise the QEH."

He added: "And, in stabilising, the guiding philosophy [is] to ensure that patient care is paramount, but also that we take into consideration and place on the front burner, the safety, security and peace in a conducive environment for all members of staff, regardless of their rank or position in the QEH."

Mr. Inniss outlined some of the steps taken to achieve this, noting that the roof over the main entrance of the institution had been changed; two new boilers (which had been planned for some time) had been commissioned to replace the one which was working at less than optimum capacity and that electrical upgrades were ongoing and due for completion within a year.?? He also reminded staff that the high dependency unit that would help with elective surgery, as well as the new-look pharmacy were both opened during the week.

The Minister, however, stressed that improvements were aimed at employees. He maintained: "Notwithstanding the physical upgrades, at the end of the day what is most important is you the individual workers…, a hospital is only as strong and as efficient as the people who work within it and what we sought to do within the Ministry of Health and with the Board, is to provide you the staff with the best possible working environment."

During his address, Chairman of the Board of the QEH, Rev. Guy Hewitt, said the cafeteria was not only about staff but directly linked to patient care. He disclosed, "… because people often fail to realise that patient care is not just about an infrastructure, technology and equipment but ultimately patient care is determined by the level of professionalism and the commitment and dedication of the staff who work here at the QEH."

Rev. Hewitt added: "And, just as we know that you are challenged to provide the best care possible to our patients, we as a Board and a hospital are trying to show you how much we care about you by putting the kind of resources in place that would make your lives here more comfortable and, your jobs more effective…because we are?? aware how many long hours you put in here, committed to people who are in so much need and if we want you to do that well… we have to do our part to help you to do your job to the best of your ability. This is but a small symbol of the effort of the hospital and the Board to give you the resources you need."

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