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Cabinet has approved a Bill entitled the ‘National Health Fund Amendment Act’ for tabling in Parliament, Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects, Hon. Daryl Vaz, has announced.
Addressing journalists at Wednesday’s (October 6) post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, Mr. Vaz said enactment of the Bill will empower the National Health Fund (NHF) to produce, warehouse and distribute pharmaceuticals and medical sundries, as well as take over some of the operations of the DrugServ pharmacies, currently being managed by Health Corporation Limited (HCL).
Speaking at a post-Sectoral debate briefing at the Jamaica Conference Centre on September 23, Health Minister, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, disclosed that “minor amendments” had been made to the NHF Act to allow HCL’s core functions to be managed by the NHF.
Minister Spencer informed then that, consequent on the amendment, the NHF’s functions would be expanded to include: establishment and maintenance of a national inventory management system for pharmaceutical services; exploring and entering into a public/private partnership arrangement to increase patients’ access to drugs; providing institutional benefits to health programmes and projects; developing programmes to address specific national health needs; procuring, warehousing and distributing drugs and medical supplies to the health sector; and managing the DrugServ pharmacies.
He said the proposed integration of the core functions of HCL into the NHF, is expected to yield initial savings of $60 million.
Mr. Spencer added the integration process will result in a reduction in the size of the bureaucracy, greater cost efficiency in operations and increased access to drugs, pointing to additional cost savings anticipated from improved service delivery and inventory management.