Saturday, April 13, 2024

Tighter security for clinics

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Barbados’ “very serious” violence problem has infiltrated the health sector and forced the authorities to increase spending on security measures.

Minister of Health John Boyce said the Branford Taitt Polyclinic, on Black Rock Main Road, St Michael, had been identified as “the most vulnerable facility to this type of violence and several measures have been implemented to combat this challenge”. But he stressed that other polyclinics would also benefit from enhanced security.

He said concern about violence was so serious that health officials were considering restricting the number of people accompanying patients.

The minister was speaking yesterday during Day 2 of the Appropriation Bill 2018 debate in the House of Assembly.

“We have increased the security and the police presence at the [Branford Taitt] Polyclinic. Financing is being provided for security measures such as hand-held radios and security wands, public address systems, panic buttons for our staff members to use to call help. These 2018-19 Estimates include funds to deal with this,” he said.

“We have also put in place not only at this polyclinic, but generally over the polyclinics, a mechanism to control the flow of patients.

“We may have to restrict the number of persons who accompany patients to see our doctors or to sit in the direct waiting rooms of our doctors, because of our experiences.”

Boyce added: “It may slow up things, it may reduce the number of persons seen every day in the polyclinics consistently, but these are the kind of measures that are being contemplated, and which I will have to support, so that the threats to our caregivers are not sustained and that they can go to work in absolute comfort . . . .”

The Ministry of Health is also preparing a draft violence policy and the minister said that had been shared with stakeholders.

Boyce said he was witnessing “a different Barbados” and urged Minister of Education Ronald Jones to rethink his opposition to metal detectors in schools.

He said there was not only a violence problem, but an issue with the attitudes of some adults who are guiding the minds of our children”. (SC)

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