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Barbados Today : #BTEditorial – QEH staff will forever be our true heroes

On Friday, we posted a story about the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) getting a paint job for the first time in 20 years. The public’s reaction to the story varied, with some being highly critical of the upgrade, accusing the institution of focusing on aesthetics and not the functionality; while others were quick to praise the move saying it was the first of many needed for the county’s lone public hospital.

The hospital was opened by Queen Elizabeth’s husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, on a visit here in 1964 at which time he unveiled a mahogany plaque in the hospital’s public foyer.

The plaque was made from timber taken from the building the QEH replaced – the old General Hospital on Jemmotts Lane, which was later home to the Ministries of Education and Health and various allied agencies before it was abandoned. It was gutted by fire in April 2018.

The external spruce-up was done as the QEH passed its own milestone of 57 years as the national general hospital. The makeover was a joint project of the hospital’s engineering, administration and housekeeping staff with outside contractors and the National Conservation Commission.

The work involved internal and external painting, landscaping, a general cleanup of the hospital and its surrounding areas, as well as power-washing of walls and sidewalks and the remarking of roadways.

The QEH, which has been predominantly a pale blue building with monochrome accents ever since it opened on November 14, 1964, will sport a new colour scheme of a “natural cream colour, with accents of grey, aquamarine, blue and yellow”, Executive Chairman Juliette Bynoe-Sutherland explained.

She said: “The colours were chosen by an architect to reflect our vision for a modern hospital that is not only vibrant and welcoming in our service delivery, but also warm, measured and professional in our attitude and disposition.”

Bynoe-Sutherland said the hospital’s walls and surroundings did not reflect the hard work inside to preserve the lives of patients.

“It is our [the staff at QEH] contribution to the ongoing celebrations and, for us, we wish our exterior to reflect the excellence that we aspire to, and often achieve in the interior,” she said.

The hospital chairman said she hoped the beautification job would “re-instill a sense of pride among staff, and that our efforts at improving the patient experience will also be more apparent”.

We agree with executive chairman Bynoe. We, too, hope for improvements within the newly-painted walls of the QEH. But we also take note of her leadership of the institution, having taken up the role as a contentious national debate about her suitability ensued.

Bynoe-Sutherland has made many strides since taking up the challenging roles. She has also allowed the institution to be more visible and accessible to the public, in that we have been hearing more and more good stories of the work being undertaken there.

It is no wonder then, whenever she speaks, she always lauds the hard-working staff of the hospital. The executive chairman clearly understands that at the heart of excellent health care and service is the staff, the people who make it happen.

We were all very generous in our praises to the QEH staff at the beginning of the COVID-19 global pandemic. However, somewhere along the journey we are hearing less and less about the selfless sacrifices made daily by QEH workers in all departments.

Lest we forget, healthcare is administered in Barbados each and every day, not just at Harrison Point and other isolation facilities to COVID-19 patients. Barbados still records the highest number of NCDs. We still have diabetic patients receiving amputations daily. We still have patients with kidney disease in need of dialysis. We still have heart patients needing by-pass surgery.

Lest we forget, there is a section of our population that depend heavily on the services of the QEH. As we battle the pandemic, let us not forget those who provide healthcare to those with myriad issues; from infant to senior.

And while we have a habit of taking things we have enjoyed for years for granted, let us always spare a thought to all those who leave their homes daily and report to a job that puts their health and families at risk. Those who report to a job that has its own unique challenges but which the COVID-19 environment has exacerbated.

QEH Executive Chairman Bynoe-Sutherland, we salute you for your sterling leadership and caring way. We salute each and every staff member that keeps the QEH functioning 24 hours a day every single day. We salute them for the not-so-ideal conditions they continue to work under while saving countless lives and helping others to recover.

You goodly men and women, continue to be the unsung heroes in this Barbadian society. Sadly, there is no honour, medal or accolade that could ever be enough to express our heartfelt and sincere gratitude to you.


Source : Barbados Today

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