(PRESS RELEASE VIA SNO) – The link between a better healthcare system and resiliency was one of the focuses of the Governor General’s maiden Throne Speech on Tuesday March 20th, 2018.
His Excellency Sir Emmanuel Neville Cenac in a speech themed, “Building Resilience Today to Secure our Future,” spoke about the Government’s commitment to creating “a more modern, efficient health service, which guarantees equity of access and delivery.”
The focus for 2018-2019 would be on matters of infrastructure development, as well as governance.
“Greater impetus will be given to the commissioning of the new national hospital, continuing the transitioning of the Victoria Hospital to the Owen King EU Hospital in a phased manner,” explained the Governor General, adding that this exercise is expected to be completed within the coming fiscal year.
“Many of our people are suffering poor health because of their inability to pay for essential health services,” noted the Governor General while taking time to explain the Government’s proposed National Health Insurance Scheme.
The national health insurance, explained the Governor General, “will assist in establishing a balance between sustainable financing of the health sector and providing our people an avenue for accessing health care services, without having to pay at the point of use.”
The Governor General further explained that “Proposed legislation for the Central Regulatory Agency will give power to this Agency to oversee the implementation and regulation of the National Health Insurance. The National Health Insurance Bill will mandate health insurance coverage for all eligible persons, and will set out such matters as, eligibility for coverage, levels and payment of contributions, health services covered, and governmental responsibility for specified population groups.”
There are further improvements coming to the health system for Saint Lucia which includes a Health Records and Reporting Bill which will make new provisions to regulate the obtaining, holding, use or disclosure of health-related information of individuals.
“The Bill will ensure the continuity of care across the lifespan and across public and private sector providers, and facilitate coordination between clinical providers, pharmacies and laboratories.”
Still in the area of Healthcare, His Excellency outline proposed amendments to The Public Health Act and Regulations following broad consultation and amendments and regulations related to the Health Practitioners Act, in a manner which reflects continued commitment to upholding best practice standards in medicine, dentistry and other health professions.
The Pharmacy Act is also expected to be amended to include the Registration of Pharmacy Technicians, wholesale distributors and importers of drugs.
The Throne Speech also highlighted Government’s measures to strengthen primary health care services, as a strategy to reduce the burden on Victoria Hospital, as well as on the new hospital, when commissioned.
The Government has also committed to enhancing the provision of critical dialysis service in the south of Saint Lucia, by ensuring the provision of additional dialysis machines to augment and replace the existing ones.