JIS News

The abolition of user fees at public health facilities has not resulted in the expected rush on hospitals within the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), with the first two days having seen smooth operations.
According to Community Relations Officer with the WRHA, Clinton Pickering, the only abnormality occurred at the public pharmacies within the region, where it is believed that patients who were given prescriptions to be filled waited for the policy to take effect before trying to fill them.
“The little hitch in the pharmacies stemmed from the ongoing shortage of pharmacists, and the apparent decision of a number of patients, including diabetics and hypertensive patients, who received prescriptions over a week ago, holding them so as to benefit from the new policy of no user fees,” he stated.
He explained that the Savanna-la-mar, Cornwall Regional, and Falmouth Hospitals each have one pharmacy but expressed confidence that this situation should be addressed shortly as contingency plans have been put in place to avoid chaos.
The no user fee policy came into effect on April 1, and is applicable at all public health facilities islandwide, except the University Hospital of the West Indies.
The government has earmarked some $100 million to assist all the health facilities with their preparation. The money will be used to purchase critical items such as small equipment and medical supplies.
Mr. Pickering further told JIS News that among the changes made within the WRHA to facilitate the new policy, is the posting of customer service representative in every department at Cornwall Regional to welcome patients on arrival and explain to them what they are to expect with the new policy.

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