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Public consultations being considered over no-user fee policy

Thursday, January 17, 2013 | 5:04 PM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica - Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson says public consultations are being considered to determine whether the government will maintain or revise the existing no-user fee policy at public health institutions islandwide.

He was speaking at the contract signing ceremony for the upgrading of the Santa Cruz Health Centre in St Elizabeth Tuesday at the Percy Junor Hospital in Spaldings, Clarendon.

The minister, who was responding to media reports suggesting that changes are to be made to the policy shortly, said that no decision has been taken.

 “We have not taken a decision as was reported that by the end of this month a user fee policy will be in place. The policy must be reviewed and in this review, the people of Jamaica should be brought into the discussions,” he stated.

Ferguson said consultations on the matter have been proposed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in its study being done on the sustainability of the country’s health sector.

“The IDB is in the final stage of completing (that) study that takes into account a number of issues. I have been promised that we (at the ministry) will get that study by the end of January. But, essentially, coming out of that, there is going to be the need, starting almost now, for national consultations,” the minister said.

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