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Can J Anaesth. 1997 May;44(5 Pt 1):559-68.

Anaesthesia in Barbados.

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  • 1Department of Anaesthesia, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



To describe the anaesthesia services in Barbados: to present the major challenges confronting the Anaesthesia Department of the government-owned Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH): and to describe the Department's approaches to optimise safety and cost-effectiveness of anaesthesia at QEH.


Authors (KBS, HSLM, RAH), who collectively provided more than 50 yr of anaesthesia at QEH; the Dean (ERW) of the University of West Indies Medical School (Barbados campus); archives of Barbados; and records of QEH.


The government of Barbados provides modern health care services to all of its citizens, primarily at QEH. Barbados, however, has tight financial constraints, infrastructural limitations, and a bureaucratic administration that predispose QEH's Anaesthesia Department to unexpected depletions of drugs and disposable supplies, sporadic shortages of personnel and functioning equipment, and occasional quality assurance problems. To deal with such problems, the Anaesthesia Department has implemented several pro-active measures: establishing an audit system to prevent depletion of imported drugs and supplies: training local personnel to maintain equipment: purchasing an oxygen concentrator to reduce oxygen costs: decreasing nitrous oxide use (expensive in Barbados): and initiating its own quality and safety standards.


Continuous delivery of high quality, cost-effective anaesthesia care requires thoughtful planning by administrators and judicious resource allocations. Health care administrators and clinical departments need to work together closely to establish a framework that enables departments to play a major role in determining how the institution's limited financial resources are best allocated to meet the departmental priorities.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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