December 3, 2021

Barbados: Huge bill for healthcare

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BY PATRICIA THANGARAJ From Barbados Advocate

$750 million price tag, says Minister

While $330 million has been allocated to date to cover healthcare costs in this island for 2018, as reveled during the discussions of the Appropriation Bill in the House of Assembly recently, it is important to note that this only covers a small percentage of the over healthcare costs, which amounts to around $750 million.

This was revealed by the Minister of Health, John Boyce, who delivered the feature address at the handover ceremony of specialised equipment to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Q.E.H.) yesterday in its boardroom.

“We are in the middle of the discussion of our annual Estimates – that is the Appropriation Bill of course – when we talk and discuss and debate what monies are allocated for the different ministries in our country and, of course, the health budget is estimated this year at something like 330 million dollars. It is instructive to remember that this 330 million dollars represents only a part of the national healthcare costs.

“The national healthcare costs runs somewhere in the region of $750 million, which means that the deficit of some $420 million has to be taken up by private patients of course, who seek private care, but some of whom fortunately are covered by insurance themselves and we estimate that to be anything around $250 million. But the rest of the costs – the difference between the $420 and the $250, represents what we call out-of-pocket costs to the Barbadian population.”

The Minister of Health stated that this island has to be careful here because we do not want to reach a stage where we can no longer afford to cover healthcare costs for the citizens of this island as we have seen the implications that this can have.

He stated that the majority of this budget goes towards the treatment of non-communicable diseases and it is with this in mind that various stakeholders in healthcare work collaboratively to address this issue.

“Foremost of course in our challenge…is the whole question of non-communicable diseases and our lifestyles in Barbados – and this is something which we have worked very hard with over the last five years or so – and the Non-Communicable Disease Commission along with many private sector agencies in Barbados – the Healthy Caribbean Coalition of course, the Barbados Diabetes Association, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Barbados Diabetes Foundation – all of these private sector agencies have worked with programmes either with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital or in our polyclinic system seeking to encourage better healthcare practices among Barbadians, especially the younger population and certainly to offer the kind of treatment which the elderly and those suffering from non-communicable diseases may require.”

For more on this story go to: https://www.barbadosadvocate.com/news/huge-bill-healthcare

To view the Barbados Parliament Appropriation Bill – Rt. Hon. Owen S. Arthur – go to: https://www.barbadosparliament.com/video/view/543

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