JIS News

Some 4,118 children from western Jamaica have benefited under the government’s free health care regime since its implementation on May 28, with approximately $5.3 million in fees saved by parents and caregivers.
This is according to Clinton Pickering, Public Relations Officer for the Western Regional Health Authority.
He said that the health facilities in the region, which include Falmouth, Savanna-La-Mar, Noel Holmes and Cornwall Regional Hospitals and the St. James Health Department, have put the necessary measures in place to facilitate the provision of free services to minors.
Chief Executive Officer of the Cornwall Regional Hospital, Everton Anderson, told JIS News that operations have been smooth so far.
“We have not had any major challenges and generally, the clients seem quite comfortable in accessing the new services. The hospital staff has done very well in terms of implementing a system to accommodate persons under 18 years, who are in need of healthcare.
Registration has been going pretty well and we have had no complaints in relation to the new exemption for this category of patients,” he stated.
Mr. Anderson noted that while there has been a slight increase in patient numbers as a result of the policy, “it’s not at the level that will cause us to worry unnecessarily at this point in time. The increase is really marginal but in the future, if there is a marked increase, certainly we would have to look at providing additional staffing especially in crucial areas such as accident and emergency.”
Under the policy, which was announced by Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller in her budget presentation in May, children under the age of 18 years are provided with free health services such as surgeries, diagnostics, hospital stay, doctor’s care and drugs.

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