Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner, in conservation with Professor Terry Irwin Secretary of the Travelling Surgical Society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (left) and President of the Society, Pierre Guillou.????(Image: A. Miller/BGIS)

"The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) is moving towards refining and re-defining the quality of its services to achieve customer satisfaction, along with economies of scale, cost containment and overall efficiencies in general."??

This was announced today by Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner as she addressed the start of a symposium for TheTravelling Surgeons Society of Great Britain and Ireland, at the QEH auditorium.

She added that the health institution was also looking to strengthen the practice of sub-specialties within the variety of medical disciplines offered. "This is with a view to obviating the need for ordinary Barbadians to travel overseas for expensive surgeries which, with the availability of expertise could be provided at considerably less cost and without the need for logistical procedures related to travelling to an overseas based institution," Senator Sandiford-Garner stated.

The Parliamentary Secretary who has responsibility for the QEH stressed: "We also seek to develop centres of excellence, whereby our Caribbean neighbours and persons from further afield can come to Barbados in order to have certain medical procedures done, given their confidence that they would be coming to a world-class facility, staffed with highly skilled medical professionals."

The Travelling Surgeons Society of Great Britain and Ireland has been visiting countries across the globe for over seven decades and this is their first trip to the Caribbean.

While expressing pleasure at the surgeons choice of Barbados for the symposium, Ms. Sandiford-Garner said: "This speaks volumes for the positive light in which Barbados’ health care system is held since I am certain that the selection of this country would hardly have occurred as a random choice, but would have been determined through careful consideration of the distinctive features of our healthcare system."??

Senator Sandiford-Garner further told the surgeons that they were visiting the island at a time when the Medical Professions Bill "will be piloted through Parliament shortly, repealing the existing Medical Registration Act."??

According to her, this legislation will introduce a Specialist Register, which, in itself will require medical practitioners to be fully qualified and to stay on the cutting edge of medical development as they seek to maintain their specialist status.?? It will also require that all medical practitioners engage in continuing medical education in order to retain their annual registration.

She declared: "Furthermore, it seeks to bring about change in the way medical professionals in Barbados conduct their affairs.?? Patients today are more aware of their rights and are demanding more from their doctors in terms of care, disclosure of information and timely responses to their concerns.?? The Medical Professions Legislation will attempt to lend some balance to doctor/patient relations in Barbados.

Pointing out that the world was a global village with an immense wealth of opportunities and ideas to be gained through networking, she observed: "The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, being a teaching facility as well, is always ready to engage medical professionals in dialogue and information-sharing as we advance closer to our goal of being a world class medical facility."

The two-day symposium is a collaborative effort between the Academic Surgical Unit of the University of the West Indies’ Faculty of Medical Sciences and the Travelling Surgeons Society of Great Britain and Ireland.

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