Better health care a priority says minister

| 01/07/2010

(CNS): The minister for health has said that one of the priorities of the government is to develop a sustainable, high quality, healthcare system in the Cayman Islands. A major part of that goal will be increasing access and continuity of care for government patients. Given the local prevalence of a number of non-communicable, chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and asthma, government will also focus on health education, promotion and prevention. In two recent statements in the Legislative Assembly, Mark Scotland announced a number of policy plans, including the launch of a new programme called CayHealth and government’s intention to conduct a population based health risks survey.

Scotland said CayHealth was founded on the concept of evidence based healthcare and will improve access to healthcare for all patients. “The CayHealth initiative is specifically designed to take the pressure off emergency and acute care services by focusing on implementing preventative healthcare measures and providing primary health care,” Scotland told his legislative colleagues last week.
Health Service Authority patients will get access to a preferred primary care physician under the new plan, who will also coordinate their access to specialists and overseas care, if required. Scotland added that patients would get more personal care, and allow the general practitioners to work productively with patients to improve their medical condition. CayHealth is also intended to bring health care to the people in their districts.
“Instead of travelling to the Cayman Islands Hospital, under CayHealth patients will have the convenience of accessing all the available healthcare services at their respective district health centres,” the health minister said. “This will reduce wait times and improve access to quality health care – two of the most important healthcare issues highlighted by Health Service Authority users.” Residents will also be able to fill their prescriptions at the district health centres.
The Public Health Department will also be undertaking education classes and health promotion activities coordinated with other agencies.
“The new CayHealth initiative is just the beginning of a journey that will shape health care for future generations,” Scotland stated, announcing that the programme will be piloted with the clients of the Department of Children and Family Services.
“Representatives of the Department of Children and Family Services and the Health Services Authority have been meeting over the past months to plan the implementation strategy and develop the programme parameters. These will be outlined in a public outreach campaign starting this week, including community meetings and briefings with various stakeholders,” he added.
On Wednesday Scotland presented another statement reviewing the progress of his whole ministry since he took up office and also spoke about future plans, including the development of a five year strategic plan and better financial management of healthcare.
He said that government spent $90 million annually on healthcare, which was around 20% of the public sector budget and was unsustainable. Aside from the development of a new hospital by Dr Devi Shetty, which Scotland predicted would save government a significant amount spent on overseas healthcare, his ministry would also work with CINICO to ensure Cayman was getting value for money for the overseas care it paid for.
He said the HSA was making great strides towards better financial management and was expected to make a profit of $1 million this year after years of heavy losses. With the arrival of a Cayman based cardiologist and an oncologist, more patients would be treated here, also reducing costs.
Scotland also revealed plans to focus on preventative care and announced the need for a population based survey on risk factors for the biggest killers in Cayman, such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, hypertension and cancer.  “In order to plan appropriately for the prevention and control of chronic non-communicable disease and to allocate resources adequately, there is a need to conduct a population based survey on the risk factors for these diseases,” he said. “This information will also facilitate the monitoring and evaluation of any of the interventions which are initiated to combat these preventable diseases.”
The risk factor survey will be undertaken this year in partnership with PAHO, CAREC and WHO and the results would be a valuable tool, the minister observed.
Changes to legislation, including the Health Insurance Law, succession plans to Caymanize the HSA, adoption of evidence based practice, more access to high quality care for all, improved customer satisfaction and improved delivery of sustainable high quality healthcare, were all part of the forthcoming plans, the minster told the Legislative Assembly in his statement.
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  1. Anonymous says:

    While I agree with the need to improve healthcare, the current position taken by Mr. Scotland is extremely troublesome in my opinion.  I know people think health insurance companies are thieves (I agree), however, when you force companies to accept patients with greater liabilities, you can expect increases in premiums across the board.  Very few companies will absorb the additional cost.   

    • Anonymous says:

      Those companies who are not prepared to absorb at least a percentage of the so called "uninsurables" are companied with which there needs to be an effective dialogue.  We cannot continue to have an aging population that needs health care without having the asssistance of licensed providers working hand in hand with Government.  All must contribute, its called a partnership, if thh Risk is spread then so will the burden.  as far as this argument goes, its the cost of doing business.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you for your response.  I stand corrected on what I stated earlier.

  2. hmmm... says:

    CNS… The issues between you and the UDP will not go away if you continue to use pictures like this!

    I mean seriously… could you not find a better picture of Mr. Scotland? lol

  3. What about getting at the Insurance companies!  I know of no other sector which wrongfully makes money off the people other than them!

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly!Why is it, my insurance pays 80% for doctor visits here and 100% overseas? Why do the insurance companies prefer me to go to Miami where very examinations is done again and the money paid leave the island? And I am not talking of big "tertiary hospital" stuff, but also small things. If I need to go to Miami I need to take a day of and have to come back on the plane after a small surgery. But here I would have had to pay a lot of money out of my pocket. Why?!