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EDITORIAL – Dialogue can be very good for your health

luigimarshall, [email protected]

EDITORIAL – Dialogue can be very good for your health

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THREE NOTABLE POINTS arising out of the NATION?Talkback town hall meeting Wednesday night would be Mia Mottley’s repeat call for a bipartisan national health committee, the concern of doctors owning pharmacies, and Donville Inniss’ commitment to reflection.
Under the banner of The Rising Cost Of Health Care, a healthy number of the public put to panellists headed by Minister of Health Inniss that which irked them, from moment to moment offering suggestions while seeking answers.
Constructive criticism can have one reflecting on life and practice with renewed interest and enthusiasm. And we believe the minister went away from the meeting less convinced that John Public was trying to get his goat, and even more in tune with the challenges of our seniors under his reconstructed medicine distribution.
One characteristic of Minister of Health Inniss is that he can be disarmingly forthright, but at Wednesday night’s meeting he was as equally engaging and receptive to other perspectives.
We are not sure what his and his Government’s final take will be on the Mia Mottley suggestion of this bipartisan health committee that will see “Parliament [taking] evidence from Barbadians in relation to how we are going to reposition the health sector, taking into account the issues that this minister and previous ministers have put before the nation”.
Is Miss Mottley’s bipartisan notion practical? Do we need to adjust radically to accommodate such a fresh idea?
While we are at it, we might want to review the stunning – at least to most of Wednesday’s audience – revelation that some doctors are into the business of pharmacy. Should our doctors be owning pharmacies?
If GPs did own pharmacies, some doctors argue, the extra value of health care every government is looking for would release itself “in terms of clinical integration”.
The NATION?Talkback audience obviously had reservations about the idea – though it is not illegal in Barbados – as some panellists themselves expressed.
Barbados Drug Service director Maryam Hinds saw possible conflict in a doctor prescribing only what he had in stock. Pharmacist himself Bandele Serrano didn’t like the idea of a non-pharmacist owning a pharmacy. There was the temptation to be driven by profit, he argued.
The debate will no doubt continue.
Perhaps, the single most important feature of the community engagement is Minister Inniss’ assurance to review the controversial drug formulary issue.
He is not so strident after all.
Six months seem like a long time though, and maybe he will listen to the people again and shorten the review period.
At the very least, we showed on Wednesday night that common understanding and communication are critical to helping the governed get more from the intentions and prescriptions of the powers that be.