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Private sector has ‘key role’ in health care

luigimarshall, [email protected]

Private sector has ‘key role’ in health care

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Donville Inniss, Barbados’ Health Minister, was describing the way health care would continue to be delivered in the years ahead in Barbados. It would be a mix that keeps Government in the driver’s seat.
In essence, it would be a dual carriageway system in which Government maintains it commitment to provide the highest level of care that’s accessible and affordable while the private sector goes after the market of people with private insurance and the ability to pay.
The new addition would be tourists looking for a “pristine” environment in which to be treated and to recuperate.
Coming on the heels of a recent Government decision to sign a memorandum of agreement  with American World Clinics (AWC), a Denver-based medical investment company, to build a US$80 million facility in the north, of Barbados that would become the centrepiece of the island’s thrust into health tourism, and with the Freundel Stuart Administration giving the green light to two offshore medical schools to set up campuses onshore, Inniss was quick to assure the public that the private sector thrust wouldn’t come at the expense of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the network of polyclinics and other services.
“I think Barbados has been very fortunate over the years to have a judicious blend between the public and the private health sectors involving health care delivery,” he told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY in New York.
“That will continue. I wish to make it abundantly clear that the position of this Government is that health care should remain accessible and affordable for all Barbadians, regardless of their socio-economic circumstances.
“We are not about to privatize health care in Barbados but we intend to keep it affordable to the average Barbadian.
“But there is always room for the private sector to be involved and there will always be those who have private health insurance and the financial wherewithal that can engage the private practice. That will continue as is their right.
“But that doesn’t mean we will in any way neglect the public health care system.”
The minister doesn’t see AWC as the wave of the future – instead, it would be an expansion of what already exists, Bayview Hospital and several private clinics, along with physicians whose practice provides a service to those able to pay for care.
The facility in St Peter, Inniss insisted, was in step with Government’s “health and wellness tourism policy” which seeks to take advantage of the country as a “wonderful location” for visitors, a “safe environment” and a “relatively sound economy”, the key factors that would make Barbados an attractive domicile for investors in the health care sector.
“That is why Invest Barbados is being asked to take a look at the St Joseph Hospital property and put it on the international market, preferably for investment in health care services. That is exactly what has been done.