Jamaica cannot afford comprehensive free healthcare.
The Editor Sir:
Sometime ago, through this medium, I wrote an article entitled 'Free healthcare for the needy'. In that letter, I pointed out that given the constant depleting source of national income and a shrinking economy, this programme was not sustainable.
Not only would it be difficult to implement, but it would fail to benefit those for whom it was intended, the poor and needy. To date, nothing has changed my perception and nothing has changed what happens to be a reality.
The delivery of healthcare has deteriorated nationally and it is only the presence of a truly dedicated minister of health and his overworked, overstretched and self-sacrificing health professionals who keep the system alive.
In the distant past, employers would adopt the practice of providing health coverage through insurance schemes for their employees, thereby empowering them to access healthcare from private health professionals.
This would reduce the demand on public hospitals and clinics, allowing the less fortunate easier access to healthcare.
Nowadays, these public facilities are clogged up with working individuals, contributing to millions of manpower loss, competing with the poor and unemployed patients when they could use their health policies to accentuate their needs from private sources.
Once again I call on the Government to roll out a National Health Insurance Scheme where those who can afford it will contribute to this scheme, pay their way at public hospitals and so make more funds available to improve the working conditions of the nurses, the facilities in the hospitals, and greater care for the poor and needy in our country.
Lloyd A. Myrie