Basseterre, St. Kitts (CUOPM) — Healthcare was a major talking point on Tuesday during the weekly call-in programme “Ask the Prime Minister.”
Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas told listeners that shortly after his Government took office following the last general elections, it was decided among the many important legacies that “we were determined to establish, the provision of a Government health insurance plan that provided medical, surgical, psychiatric, vision, dental and many other aspects of health care to each and every national of St. Kitts and Nevis, would be an absolute and non-negotiable priority.”
“My Government, therefore, moved without delay to initiate all of the necessary negotiations, and to put all the administrative underpinnings in place, to begin the process of providing this extensive care to each and every national,” said the Prime Minister.
“As a result, today each and every member of our fire and safety services in St. Kitts and Nevis has already been provided with the comprehensive health insurance earlier outlined by me. So has each and every police officer and all teachers in our country’s public schools. The doctors, nurses, orderlies, nurses’ aides and anyone else working in government-run hospitals and health centers have been provided this coverage, and their access to these services has been guaranteed by the government-issued health insurance card they now carry,” said Dr. Douglas, who added:
“The men and women who ensure that our streets are spotless after J’ouvert and Carnival have left them less-than-neat, and those persons who are indeed clean our streets while most of us are still asleep, are also among those already covered by this very valuable and life-enhancing health insurance. Each and every person who works in service of our country as members of the public service, in other words, is already covered.”
Prime Minister Douglas also pointed out that all minimum wage earners are now in the process of being covered, as are all those on public assistance, and this process of expansion will continue until each and every national of St. Kitts and Nevis is covered.
“All across the globe, serious illness routinely wipe out the savings of many families. Plunging them, sometimes, for decades, in debt. Indeed, across the globe, many persons lose their homes….their cars in an attempt to meet the financial demands of catastrophic illness. And our Government, the St. Kitts and Nevis Labour Government decided ‘Not here.’
“It is not only this government-provided health care insurance on which we have steadfastly worked, and have made significant progress. We have also been working assiduously to ensure a 21st century information system at the Joseph N. France Hospital, or largest health care facility in the Federation, in order to ensure the efficient recording and retrieval of patient data, the timely and methodical recording and analysis of medical supplies; the marshalling and management of precious time by eliminating the need – on behalf of JNF patients – to repeatedly complete the same forms with each visit to the hospital since all pertinent information on all patients would already be stored and retrievable electronically,” said Dr. Douglas.
He reminded listeners that the smart card, issued to and presented by JNF patients at each visit to the hospital was launched, to much commendation and praise, just one week ago.
“Patients, as a result will benefit tremendously our doctors and nurses will benefit tremendously and, our nation, as a result, will benefit tremendously,” said Prime Minister Douglas.