No person should be plunged into poverty just to pay for his or her health care.
Minister of Health, John Boyce, expressed this view today while speaking at a Sagicor Hospital Showcase and Information Seminar at Hilton Barbados Hotel. The theme of the event was “When Overseas Medical Treatment Becomes Necessary; Finding the Best Quality and Most Affordable Care”.
Boyce argued that such a development defeated the purpose of the first Millennium Development Goal, which seeks to reduce poverty. Acknowledging that the state cannot provide all of the services to its citizens, Boyce said:
“It must be noted that the state cannot provide all services to all citizens. As a result, the private sector has forged a niche in two vitally important areas — the provision of health care insurance plans and the delivery of health care services.”
Boyce gave the assurance that Government would continue to provide an enabling environment to allowed private health care providers to operate in the interest of the wider society. The Christ Church South MP pointed out that in this regard the Queen Elizabeth Hospital had been outsourcing dialysis services to the private sector.
Boyce disclosed that there were 24 persons benefiting from this service provided by the private sector at a cost of $60,000 per annum. He gave the public the assurance that Government maintained strict monitoring of these institutions in the private sector.
Additionally, the minister promised that Government would continue to provide these services to the most vulnerable members of the society, and explained that under the Medical Health Scheme, persons may be referred overseas for services which were not available in Barbados.
Noting that the scheme was in existence since 1987 and was administered by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the minister pointed out that each case was considered on its own merit and initiated by referral from a consultant at the QEH confirming that the technology was not available in Barbados to treat the case.
Boyce further explained that under the scheme, the QEH continued to partner with hospitals and centres of excellence abroad. The Christ Church South MP argued that through these strategic partnerships Barbadians had been afforded access to high-end specialties at cost effective rates.