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Health minister supports private wings at public hospitals

Monday, December 11, 2017

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ST JAMES, Jamaica (JIS) — Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton, says the establishment of private wings at some of the island's public hospitals could serve to fill the gaps or offset costs associated with the provision of universal access to healthcare.

Speaking at the official launch of the Black River Hospital Foundation (BRHF) in St Elizabeth on December 7, Dr Tufton said the construction of a private wing at the Black River Hospital, which is being targeted as one of the first tasks of that organisation, is “a concept and principle” that has the endorsement of the ministry.

He said the Government remains steadfast in its commitment to universal access to healthcare, which ensures that no Jamaican or non-national who requires healthcare in Jamaica is so denied on the basis of their inability to pay.

Nevertheless, he said a “frank discussion” with respect to how this will be financed is needed, one approach being the establishment of private wings.

“And so, we have said to institutions, 'if you can put together those private wings, as long as those private wings do not impede the regular function of the public health apparatus in terms of the universal access; better yet, if it enhances the provision of universal access, then that's what we really are about',” Dr Tufton explained.

Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for South West St Elizabeth and State Minister for Education, Youth and Information, Floyd Green, also pledged his full commitment to the establishment of a private wing at the hospital, which he said could garner well-needed funds for the operation of the institution.

Green also committed $500,000 from the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), which he said would be seed money, and which should help the BRHF to “seriously raise funds towards accelerating the establishment of the wing”.

“Establishing a private wing could, in fact, help fund the hospital itself, because we know the deficiencies in funding and I know that we have a number of people who would utilise that private facility. They would be willing to pay,” he said.

Minister of Health, Dr Christopher Tufton, addresses the official launch of the Black River Hospital Foundation (BRHF) in St. Elizabeth on Thursday, December 7.

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