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Byer-Suckoo calls for review of NIS sickness benefits

Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development Senator Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo is calling for reform of sickness benefits in Barbados.

Dr Byer-Suckoo cautioned that if the National Insurance Scheme’s (NIS) sickness benefit were to remain a viable option for Barbadians, measures had to be implemented to protect it and stamp out the “unsavoury practices” of inappropriate claims.

The minister made the recommendation during a recent courtesy call with President of the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners (BAMP) Dr Abdon DaSilva and Director of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) Ian Carrington, at her Warrens office. However, the information was made public only Wednesday afternoon by the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS) in a release .

Her call for reform came after Carrington revealed that 533 doctors had issued 49,555 certificates totalling 561,000 benefit days over a ten-month period in 2009.

He said the claims cost the NIS $30 million, well in excess of the $28.6 million budgeted for that entire year.

“The specific areas of concern were that some doctors issued many more sickness certificates than the average; and that patients treated the sick days as an entitlement which were too often used as vacation days and not for genuine sickness,” the BGIS release stated.

It added that Carrington also pointed out that when compared to the rest of the region, Barbados had claims for twice the number of sick days and also twice the payout.

Dr Byer-Suckoo maintained that the trend could not continue, and requested the support of the medical community and the trade unions to work towards a solution, stressing that public education was needed on the role and use of sickness benefits.

The minister and the BAMP head agreed that the NIS would meet with the doctors to this end, the BGIS release said.

Source: (BGIS)

3 Responses to Byer-Suckoo calls for review of NIS sickness benefits

  1. Tony Webster August 25, 2016 at 6:31 am

    I agree wid Hon. Lovely Senator-lady: there are a lot, a legion, a surfeit, a swamp-full….of “unsavoury practices” in Barbados!!
    Indeed, I swear by the eveidence of mine eyes, and mine ears, there are even some people who are apparently unable ( or un-willing), to distunguish between hypocrisy, and the hippocratic oath. Such people shpuld seek ophtalmic intervention, to remove the mote in their own eye, before casting at those of other citizens.

    Truth be told, this particular practice has become so common, that it is now a “normal” feature of life “on the rock”. You see, it is not only politicians who must eat bread: doctors too, have needs, expenses, staff to pay, and big rides in which to to comport themselves etc.

    I hasten to remind you dear Senator-Lady, that I have long, long ago pointed out the futility of trying to win an argument with the principles of arithmetic. Translation: De cash gine surely run out if wunna keep on wid poor-rakey management of the N.I.S.
    In particular, the continual dipping into the N.I.S. cookie-jar to help put your pal Hook, Line and Slinker, will surely end in tears- for all of us. Not all those cash bail-outs, dear lady, are “investments”. Yes, thank you, my eyes work very well…and occasionally…my brain joins in the fun too!

    BTW: hmmm…how might one describe or define “National ethos”?

  2. harry turnover August 25, 2016 at 7:14 am

    Yes Doc. you are PERFECTLY CORRECT and I agree with you 100%…and as I said before the Government needs to do away with the 21 days un-certified sick days that MANY more of the newly appointees who have seen how that is abused by those already appointed.
    I appointed now so I can do as I like were the cries of many of those.Either reduce,abolish or make the abuse of it a criteria when computing ones gratuity and pension.

  3. Joy August 25, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    How can the assumption be made that people are not genuinely sick? With the high incidence of chronic non-communicable diseases in Barbados the impact will translate into a large number of sick days. We have a high incidence of cancer, high blood pressure and diabetes. Add to that the many sick buildings, poor environmental conditions, outbreaks of dengue, gastroenteritis, leptospirosis, zika, chikungunya etc. and you have many legitimate causes of illness in Barbados.


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