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Statement on the Temporary Postponement of Elective Surgeries

The Board of Management of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital wishes to assure the public that its Department of Surgery continues to provide the full range of surgical services to the people of Barbados. However, there are instances when elective surgeries are temporarily postponed due to an excessively high utilization rate for the hospital’s 519 in-patient beds. The most recent example of this occurred on Monday, August 22, when the hospital’s acting Director of Medical Services made a strategic decision to temporarily postpone elective surgeries scheduled for Tuesday, August 23 due to the hospital’s high bed occupancy. This decision resulted in the rescheduling of six elective cases, and arrangements were immediately put in place to facilitate these elective procedures between Wednesday, August 24 and Saturday, August 27. As such there was no protracted postponement of elective surgeries as was reported in the media.

It should be noted that after surgery, in-patient beds are required for patients to fully recover. It would be irresponsible to admit patients for elective surgery when the in-patient bed occupancy rate remains extremely high. Therefore, priority is given to emergency procedures as persons awaiting elective surgery can be safely accommodated at a later date.

We are therefore asking the members of the media to be mindful that sharing incomplete or unverified documents can cause unnecessary public panic and demoralise hospital staff who are doing their duty to make decisions that are in the best interest of all patients.

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