AUDIO: No user fee policy to stay this year, says health minister
The Health Minister, Dr. Fenton Ferguson, says the no user fee policy will remain at public health facilities this year.
However, he says the government will be putting specialist services in place that will not be covered under the policy.
Speaking during the Sectoral Debate in Parliament this afternoon, Ferguson also explained that the no user fee policy will not apply to persons staying in private medical wards in some public hospitals.
He said the changes are being implemented to bring in more revenue.
The health minister said the changes will be made on a phased basis with the intention of eventually putting in place a mechanism for a National Health Insurance scheme in keeping with universal health coverage.
Ferguson said the government also plans to strengthen mechanisms for the collection of the co-payment from insurance companies.
He said his ministry will be establishing a task force to consider the options available to revolutionise the National Health Service.
According to Ferguson, those options will be considered at the end of public consultations on healthcare financing.
Ferguson said said consultations have already been completed and discussions held with the opposition spokesman on health, health groups and associations, internal stakeholders and members of the public.
He said another consultation will be held in Spanish Town, St Catherine next month and a report on the recommended course of action will be presented at the end of the consultations.
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