Rose Marie Harris
Wednesday, April 09, 2003 - Government has admitted that currently the
island’s health care system is not adequately providing quality care and service
to the people of Saint Lucia.
Speaking during the opening of the 3rd Session of the 8th Parliament, Tuesday,
in the Throne Speech, Her Excellency the Governor General, Dame Pearlette Louisy
said that despite strenuous efforts in the past few years, to change the
island’s health care situation, not much has been achieved. This she explained
is due to a number of factors, key among them – financing.
“Over sixty percent of Saint Lucians do not pay their medical bills to the
public sector institutions. Some clearly cannot pay; others can but will not
pay. The burden of payment is therefore carried by some and this is manifestly
unfair,” Dame Pearlette explained.
The Governor General noted that Government has appointed a Task Force under the
Chairmanship of Miss Emma Hippolyte, to look into the problem of health care
financing. The Task Force will, in the course of this financial year engage
civil society on the options available.
Government will also appoint a Commission to inquire into and report on the
terms and conditions of employment of nurses and doctors. The Commission will be
- To conduct an assessment of payment mechanisms of health
providers currently being used in Saint Lucia to ensure appropriate
differentials in compensation, taking into account the significant differences
in the levels of responsibility between one practitioner and another;
- To examine existing incentives within the system and assess
their influence in achieving declared social and health sector goals;
- To identify options for modification and assess them
relative to Saint Lucia’s policy priorities, technical, legal and
- To identify specific conditions that are required for the
implementation of modifications in payment mechanisms to health providers;
- To review the existing policy of dual (private/public
sector) employment status of health care professionals specifically :
- to examine hours of work vis-ŕ-vis compensation
- Quality assurance – the number of patients seen vis-a0vis
the number expected clinical hours engaged
- To determine potential areas of conflict of interest
- To make recommendations to Cabinet on modifications in
payment mechanisms to health providers taking into consideration the economic
resources to Saint Lucia in the prevailing economic circumstances.