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    The Ministry of Health has begun its national consultations on the review of the no-user fee policy for public health facilities.

    Portfolio Minister, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, said the process began last Thursday, April 18, with a meeting with Opposition Spokesman on Health, Dr. Ken Baugh.

    “The intention is to move from there, to having four consultations in the four health regions, and also having smaller discussions with stakeholders,” Dr. Ferguson stated at a JIS Think Tank on Wednesday, April 24.

    “Out of that, armed with the IDB (Inter-American Development Bank) study, which speaks to the sustainability of the health sector, I’m putting in place a concept document, so that when we get out in those formal consultations, there will be a baseline document, that will help to inform the process,” he noted.

    The document will also include input from other stakeholders, internal data and other critical information. This process is expected to be completed over the next six to eight weeks, the Minister said.

    He noted that the data captured on the proposed Government of Jamaica Health Card, will be used to inform the process in determining which patients should pay, based on ability, when they access services at the various health facilities.

    He said the aim is to have the details of the requisite analysis or means test done at the point when persons are applying for their cards, instead of at the health facilities. This, he said, will eliminate patients being detained for long periods to provide such information.

    “I want to make it very clear that any system that is to come, the most vulnerable will always be protected,” the Minister emphasised.

    By Alphea Saunders, JIS Reporter

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