The enactment of the Medical Services Development Act is the way to go at this juncture of our history.
Parliamentary representative for St James Central, Kerrie Symmonds, offered this suggestion yesterday in the House of Assembly while speaking on a money resolution for $25 million for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Symmonds said: “We do not just claim it as the Barbados Labour Party’s, but we urge the government to embrace the concept. If the Minister of Health acknowledges that he has been looking at a $15 flat charge across the board for people using the hospital services, they would have to understand that the way we have understood the QEH to function in the past will not be happening in 2016, however hard we may wish it to be.
“So we now have to look at ways in which we can find an attractive regime for people with capital to come and set up medical health services in Barbados that will support the work of the principal health institution which is the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. We have to do that, but it just would not happen so. You are going to have to build out regime and give it a legislative framework so that people the world over would buy into the project,” he said.
“The Minister of International Business understands that this is a low hanging fruit. There is a need for us in Barbados to be able to export to the rest of the region and indeed to the wider hemisphere that which we do best. Among the things that we have done best is to provide quality health care. It is Barbados that has sent nurses all around the world. It is Barbados that has had doctors practising all through the Eastern Caribbean. It is Barbados that people from around the Eastern Caribbean have come to be trained at this country’s hospital, which is a teaching hospital as well. This is what makes the tragedy worse because it is a teaching hospital that is being run to ruin. On top of that there are people who come from all around the world to get care here at the QEH,” Symmonds added.
The St James Central MP stressed that there is a need to enact a piece of legislation which the opposition benches would be happy to support.
“They asked for suggestions, they ask for ideas and we say that these are the things that you should be doing. These are easily done low hanging fruit, but we see no movement made because in the words of Prime Minister Freundel Stuart whose fingerprints remain on the scene of this offence we are making haste slowly. We are making haste slowly.
“We go further. It is necessary, in a serious Barbados in 2013, to look at what will be happening in 2014, 2015 and 2016. I now say to this country when the new year turns we should be looking to every Barbadian having health insurance.
“It should not be something for everyone to have, but a central objective that in 2014 we should be drilling it into the head of everybody who has a job and who have a realistic objective of keeping their job, that they need to have health insurance so as to help offset the cost of health care that is being offered by central government when we know that it is collapsing under the strain of doing it,” Symmonds added.