Mia’s plan for better health

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BARBADOS’ HEALTH SECTOR will get an injection of practical solutions to reduce inequality and improve health care delivery.

This medicine will be administered to ensure every Barbadian has universal access to quality health care and are no longer left to fend for themselves if they do not have enough money to pay, as is rapidly becoming the norm today.

These goals are part of a 15-point prescription for improving health care delivery, encouraging entrepreneurship in medical technology services and boosting opportunities for medical tourism business outlined by Opposition leader Mia Mottley.

In an expansive speech at the opening ceremony of the 80th University of the West Indies/Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners Continuing Medical Education conference at the UWI on November 18, Mia outlined the Barbados Labour Party’s position to revitalise the ailing health sector.

Mia said the BLP will:
Rename the Ministry of Health to the Ministry of Health and Wellness with a stronger focus on regulation, enforcement and facilitation. It will be the conduit for purchasing of medical services in the private sector where capacity there can be more economically accessed and provided than in the public sector. The ministry will also focus less on managing complex institutions like the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH).

Establish partnerships and linkages with the local medical fraternity and stakeholders, and where this already exists, enhance it for greater dialogue and cooperation to make better informed decisions to get Barbados working again for all Barbadians.

Ensure that the QEH will no longer be a political football. An apolitical board comprising of people with the competence and technical expertise to effectively manage such a complex institution would be appointed.

Evaluate and cost each service at the QEH to determine the appropriate financing that institution needs to deliver the core services required. And where new specialised services are needed, they must be acquired through partnerships with first local, then international partners.

Establish a truly 24-hour QEH where every ancillary department will be effectively manned to function every hour of the day and night.

Open selected polyclinics on a 24-hour basis and staff them appropriately to provide the services of a mini Accident & Emergency with areas for minor surgery, basic X-rays, an asthma bay and so on to relieve the pressure on the A&E at the QEH.

Attract ventures in telemedicine and health records management, including medical transcription business to provide well-paying opportunities for skilled young Barbadians.

Identify insurance companies to reduce the costs of delivery of medical services without compromising the quality of health care.

Facilitate the establishment of specialised clinics providing medical tourism services, similar to the Barbados fertility Centre.

Undertake a comprehensive reform of legislation within the medical field to facilitate the development of medical tourism related clinics.

The ethical and technological determinants needed will be discussed by stakeholders to arrive at what is in the best interest of Barbadians, the country and the sector.

Expand scientific research through partnerships to better capture what may be developed from diverse local and regional plant life, and develop medication and treatments more efficacious in dealing with our populations’ specific genetic make-up.

Put institutional arrangements in place to strengthen and support the development of the nursing profession as a strategic complement to high quality medical practice, and to train highly skilled nurses to work globally.

Utilise Invest Barbados and BTMI to promote brand Barbados Wellness (or whatever arrived at) to solicit business across the Caribbean and western hemisphere for medical services in which we have particular expertise and are competitive in. The platform for this was started in 2007 by Invest Barbados with the help of CIDA.

Expand opportunities for internships and research for UWI Cave Hill medical graduates through strategic partnerships with other medical schools to ensure this investment in talented youth is not lost and their dreams are no longer frustrated by lack of opportunity.

Ensure Barbadian doctors trained in Cuba are allowed to practice here on their return home.

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