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Health care gets a prop

Published:Wednesday | March 17, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Government has increased its financial allocation to regional health authorities, which have been struggling to survive under the pressure of free health care.

The health ministry and the Bellevue Hospital have also had their budgets topped up.

Details provided in the second estimates of expenditure tabled in Parliament yesterday show $87 million more allocated to the South East Regional Health Authority, while the Western Regional Health Authority gets $42 million more.

An additional $29 million is allocated to the North East Regional Health Authority and $38 million to the Southern Regional Health Authority.

This should solve some of the problems at public hospitals which have been wobbling in the face of increased demands for services and pharmaceuticals since the administration introduced free health care.

Equipment, drug shortage

Hospital patients and health-care professionals have repeatedly complained about a shortage of well-needed equipment and drugs while pointing to the failure of the Government to properly fund the facilities.

In the meantime, an additional $160 million has been allocated to the health ministry to meet payments to the Jamaica Public Service Company and the National Water Commission.

The administrators at the Bellevue Hospital will have an additional $106 million in their hands to pay outstanding bills, including statutory deductions taken from the salaries of employees and not paid over.