New regime to fund health care

The Government of Barbados is considering a special regime to finance health care in the country.

Speaking during debate on the vote for $337 million for the Ministry of Health in Parliament this afternoon, minister responsible John Boyce identified the need for such a system.

Minister of Health John Boyce

“We need to come up with a unique set of measures, which would allow us to inform the financing of health care in Barbados. There are no secrets. There are only two ways really . . . because the state either pays for health completely and entirely by whatever means, or people buy health privately,” the minister stated.

“A mixture of the two or a blending of the two . . . half, half to me is not a new method; it is just a hybrid. So we have maybe two distinct ways in which we can tackle health care, and essentially in Barbados, we have sought to take care of our health and the state essentially paid for it.”

The minister noted that some revenue was derived from charging private patients at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

He suggested that the $337 million allocated for health across the island has to be carefully managed.

The parliamentary representative for Christ Church South also argued that one should not consider the various cuts in spending on the delivery of health care this year, as destructive to the sector.

“It is not,” asserted the Government MP.

Boyce also tried to factor in the Government’s proposed expansion of its health care offering into the discussion.

“Over this next 12 months, and that is with the opening of the St John Polyclinic, we have deliberately taken funds from other institutions like the Glebe, St Philip Polyclinic and the like, to be able to have our start-up financing for the St John Polyclinic,” he told Parliament.

He said the Government, however, may not be able to roll out all the services from the outset, but the basic services would be provided.

“The provision in the Estimates of $703,000 for the St John Polyclinic is exactly for that. So there is no argument, therefore, where the money is, in terms of the service of the polyclinic.”

Boyce pointed out that a well executed primary health care service with regards to the polyclinic system, would result in a reduction of costs of health care, explaining that “when we move a patient from basic illness, treatable illness, to chronic illness that requires bed time in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, we move into a new regime of spending . . . a new regime of cost.”

The minister is of the view that if people could be kept away from the QEH and took care of more cases in the primary system, there would be a win-win situation.

He conceded that while everyone who attended polyclinics was not satisfied, the overall servic was above par.

He felt, too, that there was need for improvement in the management of polyclinics, including the introduction of a balance to the specialities currently available.

The health minister also wanted to see more training and retraining of health care professionals, review of the fast track service and after-hours system at the Winston Scott Polyclinic.

Boyce believed issues such as the appointment system should be tweaked, adding that it was time this country implemented a 24 hour business arrangement.

One Response to New regime to fund health care

  1. Tony Webster March 21, 2014 at 6:33 am

    Mr. Emmanuel: you have my sympathy for your attempt to abstract what was delivered in the house by Hon. Minister. I heard much of it by live radio, but neither the original, nor this, has left me with any sense of comprehension of what is “being considered”; what course “is favoured”; what, if anything, has “been decided”, where “a consensus” of cabinet lies, or might lie; whather there might be, a yet again, any “special reservations” to such consensus, from Hon. Minister of Tourism (or environment , etc!!!) where we are going; when we are likely to arrive there; what the impact on the public purse will be; what the impact on my purse shall be. I am left to contemplate a total mish-mash of peas-and-rice soup, with soy sauce, mayonaise, ham, and topped off with ice-cream. Absolutely un-believable.

    I do admit to garbering a cupple facts:
    1. Hon. Minister was alive and speaking, while colleagues in The House were ostensibly making “important contributions” on matters of National Significance.
    2. We all like the deep baritone voice.
    3. Government has a fiscal, AND a debt problem. These are inexplicably, somehow related!
    4.Government will continue to confront basic economic, and social, problems which have now reached intolerable levels, threatening the very foundations of what we call S.S. Barbados.
    5. Political considerations will over-ride all others, except when we see clearly that the object being pointed at us by our IMF friends, is not a finger…but a gun.
    6. On the bright side, the sun will surely come up today.

    And you have my sympathy.

    I know for a fact, that


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