Agard supports procurement reform in health care system


INDEPENDENT Member of Parliament for Christ Church West Dr. Maria Agard says she fully supports any move towards procurement reform legislation in Barbados.
Her comments came during the Appropriate Bill 2016 yesterday, where she expressed concern about some sections of health care provision, and called for assurances that areas such as the maintenance of equipment and medication are top priorities in this year’s budget.
Saying that she reposes confidence in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), Dr. Agard said any discussion on health care finance reform must take into consideration public procurement. “The National Procurement Policy is today possibly one of the root causes of many of the finance problems experienced in health, and the maintenance of relevant information must also be maintained to secure a procurement operation.
“The practice of procurement must be transparent, non-discriminatory, evidence-based in terms of quality and price, clinically safe, affordable and proportionate in terms of the commission granted,” she said.
Dr. Agard having seen first-hand the inner-workings of the hospital, called for the maintenance of equipment and upkeep of the surgeries as planned, in order to reduce the burden of those waiting for months for life-saving procedures.
“That is not any academic posturing from me. I would share with you that just this time last week I was scheduled for another intervention, and as I was prepping for it, I received a call from my surgeon who said we would have to reschedule the procedure because the diagnostic piece of equipment broke down,” it was explained.
“I am not academic when I say there is a human face to these challenges. The human face does exist, and the human face sometimes doesn’t have other options than the QEH. Therefore, it stands to reason that our vested interest is always to ensure there is no deliberate shortfall to place the lives of Barbadians at risk,” she stated.
The independent Member of Parliament also called for medication to be made available to the elderly as well as the unemployed or underemployed after receiving care. “I want to be assured that when our patients go to polyclinics, that medication prescribed can be garnered from those polyclinics. We have a duty to manage those facilities because people’s lives are at risk.”
“I want to be assured that the staff at all levels are adequately provided for so that the institution can function at its optimum at all times,” she stated. (JH)

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