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Health Minister Greaves Reiterates Shared Services Agreement for Health Care

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Contact: John Emmanuel

Wednesday, August 20, 2003 – the Island’s Health and Human Services Minister Honourable Damian Greaves has been reminding the public that there are established procedures between public and private health care institutions for accessing equipment, services and personnel for the smooth delivery of health care services locally.

Minister Greaves in a televised statement on Monday, August 18th, 2003 pointed to an arrangement that has existed from February 5th 1998, when Cabinet by conclusion No.178 mandated the Ministry of Health to develop utilization procedures. Under this agreement, stated Honourable Greaves, “patients referred to Gablewoods/Tapion must be referred by the Chief Medical Officer’s Office, in the case of persons requiring elective/non-emergency procedures; or by the Medical Superintendent in the case of hospitals. Should emergency case referrals be made, the consultant/accident and emergency officer other than the Medical Superintendent would be the legitimate officer to authorise such referrals.”

Minister Greaves, who also holds the portfolio for Family Affairs noted that his Ministry will seek to further strengthen the policy with respect to the issue of access and availability of emergency diagnostic investigations such as CT scans. “As a responsible agency of the Government, the Ministry of Health recognizes the need for all citizens to have access to available treatment and diagnostic technology and modalities,” said Minister Greaves.

“It is in this regard that we have engaged Tapion Hospital in ensuring that emergency CT Scans and other radiology services are available to the patients accessing care at public health facilities.” The Health Minister explained that based on such arrangements, he and other senior health officials were of the opinion that they have arrived at a workable solution for making these available and accessible to citizens and residents in emergency situations. He spoke of the spirit of shared services, a universal principle on which the health care delivery system is predicated. That principle he notes, ensures the use of emergency diagnostic equipment not provided in or by the public health hospital system, was accessible privately to patients.

The Minister was at the time addressing the public on the circumstances surrounding the death, last month, of 18 month old Leandre James of Bagatelle, Castries, after he allegedly fell of a chair at home. The official autopsy report revealed the cause of death was due to severe brain damage and haemorrhaging, as a result of a fractured skull.

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