Work starts on national health policy

| 03/05/2012

Minister Scotland Speaks at Opening (237x300).jpg(CNS): A two-day meeting to discuss and draft the Cayman Islands’ first National Health Policy and Strategic Plan started in Grand Cayman today (Thursday, 3 May). Health Minister Mark Scotland said that while the Cayman Islands has good healthcare as well as the necessary components for a good health system, a robust National Health Policy and Strategic Plan is needed to answer a growing number of challenges. He said it was an area of weakness that needed to be addressed to give the country a clear direction for the future of local health care.

“One of the gaps I identified when I took up office three years ago was the lack of an overarching, guiding policy that outlines our vision, goals and objectives for our health system Scotland at the opening of the meeting. “At a time when we face rising healthcare costs and shrinking budgets, it is imperative that we do so with a clear vision and a strong sense of direction. With a clearly defined National Health Policy we will be able to move from strategy to implementation, efficiently and purposefully.”

The formulation of the National Health Policy and Strategic Plan is facilitated by the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO). Speaking at the opening, PAHO/WHO representative Marilyn Entwistle, Health System & Services Development Advisor for Jamaica, Cayman Islands & Bermuda, echoed the Minister’s sentiments adding that the Cayman Islands had made great strides in providing healthcare.

“While (Cayman) is the envy of the region in many aspects, there are challenges which have developed over time and the country needs a robust national health policy to address these problems, as well as the growing expectations for healthcare,” she said.

As participants got down to work Scotland urged them to pay specific attention to making healthcare more affordable, improving access and quality and promoting increased collaboration between public and private healthcare providers.

"Within the next three years the Cayman Islands health system will be the star of the Caribbean – we will be the best that we can be in patient satisfaction, accountability, quality and efficiency. We will promote public/private collaboration across the health system and we will not only treat sickness, but promote wellness,” the minister added.

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