Govt to Rationalize Health Services


Government plans to rationalize the delivery of health services in the public sector and strengthen the capacity of hospitals to deal with the additional patient load that is expected come April, when hospital charges are removed at all public facilities.
Prime Minister Bruce Golding who made the announcement, said this will be done in the short-term, to prevent a deterioration of services.
He was speaking on Thursday (Jan. 24) at the official opening of the Winchester Surgical and Medical Institute in Kingston.
Mr. Golding said the rationalization must include expanding the capabilities of primary health care beyond what now exists, in order to ease the burden which hospitals have to carry. He said too many patients turn up at hospitals for treatment of ailments that should be dealt with at another level. In this regard he said the government has committed itself to rebuilding and restoring primary health care as fast as it could.
He said the rationalization of services would allow for the more effective and efficient use of professional services, equipment and utilities across the public sector. He made special mention of the nursing shortage affecting the health sector and said consideration would have to be given to relieving nurses of some duties which do not require a nursing diploma.
Mr. Golding also spoke of the need for an expansion of the public/private sector partnership in the delivery of health care and said consultations would have to be held with the private sector to explore new frontiers of co-operation. An area in which he said the government has a particular interest is health tourism, which he stated could provide new possibilities for rationalizing expenditure on public sector health care. He said officials of Jamaica Trade and Invest, the Ministry of Health and the Environment and representatives from the private health sector, will further explore and develop a package that will be attractive to local and overseas investors.
Mr. Golding congratulated the team of investors who are all medical practitioners, for their vision and foresight in establishing the Winchester Surgical and Medical Institute. The institute offers medical and surgical services, utilizing state of the art technology. Services include a same-day ambulatory surgery unit, dialysis and radiology services and complete laboratory services.

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