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Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, says that the Government is committed to maintaining high standards in healthcare delivery even as it deliberates on options for financing the sector.

“It is not just creation of access; we have to also maintain quality and standards,” Dr. Ferguson stated on Sunday, June 23, as he addressed the fourth public consultation on health financing held at the Montego Bay Civic Centre in Sam Sharpe Square, St. James.

Dr. Ferguson, who will speak on developments in the health sector, when he makes his Sectoral presentation on Tuesday, June 25, said that some “important recommendations” have come from the meetings held to date.

“We have taken on board the many suggestions, some of which will be discussed, in our deliberations,” he informed.

Among the recommendations, he said, is that the Ministry should look to “get something from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), because in a real way, when our tourists come to the country, there is great expectations about the nature of our service, there is great expectations about or emergency response.”

 

Councillor Suzette Brown (2nd left) from the St. James Parish Council leads a group discussion at Sunday’s (June 23) public consultation on financing for the health sector, held at the Montego Bay Civic Centre, St. James. Councillors Homer Davis (3rd left); and Charles Sinclair (4th left); also participated in the session organised by the Ministry of Health.

 

Stating that the issue of health financing has moved from just user fees, Dr. Ferguson informed that the role of insurance companies has also been put on the table.

“When you have an accident and the client ends up in the hospital, what about the insurance companies? Those things have come to the table,” he stated.

The Minister said the consultations have put him in a position to work with his team at the Ministry, and the wider Government to chart a way forward with clear understanding that the public is fully aware of the range of issues involved.

Meanwhile, Technical Director at the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), Dr. Simone Spence, reported that a number of upgrading projects have taken place across the region to improve health facilities.

“In progress, we currently have refurbishing of the dietary and kitchen area at Cornwall Regional Hospital, which is 99.9 per cent complete. Expansion of the Mount Salem Health Centre is almost complete as well. We have renovated a number of our health centres across the region, and there is construction of maternity, medical, and accident and emergency facilities at Savanna-la-Mar Hospital,” she outlined.

Contact: Garfield Angus