JIS News

Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, says the no user fee policy in the public health sector will remain in place for the 2013/2014 financial year.

“However, we will be strengthening mechanisms for the collection of the co-payment from insurance companies,” Dr. Ferguson said.

The Minister was making his contribution to the 2013/2014 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, on June 25.

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Dr. Ferguson pointed out that the Ministry will be putting in place specialist services that will not be covered under the policy, as well as private medical wards in some public hospitals through public/private partnerships.

“These will be done on a phased basis, while we continue the consultations on health financing with the intention of eventually putting in place a mechanism for a National Health Insurance scheme…in keeping with universal health coverage,” the Minister said.

So far, the Ministry has completed eight consultations on health financing and has had dialogue with the Opposition Spokesman on Health, Dr. Ken Baugh; health groups and associations, internal stakeholders and members of the public in the four Health Regions.

Another consultation will be held in Spanish Town, St. Catherine in July, while the academic community will be engaged on the matter on a date to be determined.

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Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health has secured financing and will be moving to procure two linear accelerator machines for radiation treatment in cancer patients.

Dr. Ferguson said one will be placed in Kingston and the other in Montego Bay, and will be implemented in collaboration with National Health Fund and the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund.

“It is important for me to explain that there is only one such machine in Jamaica and it is in the private sector. The public sector will have two, for the first time in the history of Jamaica, and discussions in this regard are going very well. Lifesaving treatment for cancer will be moving at warp speed,” he added.

Contact: Latonya Linton