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Barbados Today : QEH makes progress in clearing surgery backlog

Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Wellness with responsibility for the QEH, Dr Sonia Browne

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) is continuing to work towards clearing the backlog of people awaiting elective surgeries.

That assurance has come from Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Wellness with responsibility for the QEH, Dr Sonia Browne, who also told Barbados TODAY she was pleased the healthcare institution was on top of its cataract surgeries.

She congratulated medical personnel and other workers who contributed to clearing up the backlog in those surgeries “in a timely manner”.

“Now, the joint replacement surgeries have started and we are looking to really get that moving swiftly and in a practical way. Right now, the joint replacement surgeries are not going as fast as I would like it but we are getting there,” she said.

“For the other surgeries, one of the delays was the availability of theatres. All of the theatres that are available, I believe, are in use.”

Dr Browne further explained that while the three theatres at the hospital’s Lion’s Eye Care Centre have been out of use, all major ophthalmology surgeries had to be diverted to the main theatres.

She said the hospital’s management was in the process of getting a loan to get the theatres at the Eye Care Centre repaired.

“We are looking to get those back on track and working again on their own to free up some of the other theatres,” the Minister said.

Responding to complaints from patients referred to the hospital for operations, Dr Browne said that while some complaints were valid, some surgeries were delayed due to reasons beyond the QEH’s control.

She said some patients would show up for operations but their test results showed that, for example, their diabetes “is out of whack, their hypertension is out of whack, they may have eaten when they shouldn’t”, leading to scheduled surgeries having to be postponed.

“I promise you that we are looking at all of that and we are trying to work with the doctors and nurses and everybody else to see where we can address that. The issue that we found is a delay in the start time for surgery and I think we have more or less addressed that, so they start on time and the process would flow,” Dr Browne said.

During a press conference in March last year, Minister of Health and Wellness Ian Gooding-Edghill said partnerships were being explored with Cuba to reduce the backlogs, adding there was need for “out-of-the-box commercial thinking”.

He revealed at that time that part of the plan will be to get all 12 operating theatres back into operation to be utilised “day and night” for surgeries.

Article first published by Barbados Today : February 4th, 2023

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