Take the partisan politics out of health and deal with the real issues, says St Michael North-East MP Mia Mottley.
Reprimanding her political colleagues from both the Opposition Barbados Labour Party and the ruling Democratic Labour Party, she told them to stop wasting their energies on political speeches to “stake territories” and instead seek a comprehensive analysis to deal with the challenges, particularly in health, which faced Barbados.
“I’ve listened carefully and it is true that both sides refer to party positions and party politics . . . . Barbados has some serious challenges to face in respect to health care and every single Minister of Health for the last ten years has reinforced the point that the provision of health care is accelerating at a rate that is larger than any other sector in our economy.
“We are not going to address the issues unless there is a comprehensive approach to speaking to where our emphases should be; how we are going to pay for it; and how we can ensure that we do not compromise the health of the nation and individuals and by extension the productivity of the country.
“But equally, how we can do so in a way that is appropriate to how we were able to do it in previous decades and develop the reputation for having one of the best health systems in the Caribbean,” Mottley said.
The Opposition Leader further argued that the quality of health care professionals in the island was not the issue, adding that what Barbados needed to address specifically was how this country would confront the cost of the provision of health care, such that it could be attained by every citizen.
“We will serve ourselves better if we create joint select committees that allow members from both sides, independent members . . . to come together and to start to take the evidence.
”We have reached a stage where our time and our effort would be better spent if the Minister of Health were to come in here and have with him the senior public servants sit in Parliament and be the subject of specific inquiry as to the details of the Estimates that have been presented to us.
“. . . If we were to look at what is the balance proposed, not only within the Ministry of Health but across other ministries, and to be able to hear first-hand justification of the public officers, we would then be in a position to add value to what we are doing,” she said.