As Barbados looks for new and innovative ways to grow the economy, the health sector has been identified as an area which must no longer be viewed as merely a consumer of financial resources, but rather as a productive asset.
This view was expressed by Health and Wellness Minister, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic, last Friday, as he addressed the opening of a new intensive care unit at the Bayview Hospital.
He stressed the importance of developing the health tourism market, noting that Government will support this niche by continuing to build on the inherent capacity and potential for growth in this area.
He further maintained that investing in health supported economic development, through a reduction in sick days and in the entire range of medical services used.
The Health and Wellness Minister revealed that Government was working “assiduously” to facilitate the participation of partners from non-governmental and private sectors in the economic development of Barbados, including the health sector.
He added: “In this regard, the Government of Barbados is creating an enabling environment to facilitate such involvement through policy frameworks.”
One of the primary policy objectives, Lt. Col. Bostic said, was to develop a health financing strategy that would be comprehensive in scope and meet the needs of a changing society.
“We envision greater use of technology and national information systems that allow for better capture, monitoring and data storage to improve patient services and care delivery. In addition, such data will contribute to decision-making in terms of policy and investment opportunities,” he noted.
The Health and Wellness Minister also spoke of plans to incentivise the development of day care and other facilities for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, as well as efforts to work with nursing and other organisations in the Diaspora to develop other health initiatives, including the strengthening of palliative care services.
He stated: “It is important for all entities with a vested interest in promoting the health and well-being of the people of Barbados to work together to make available the best possible health care options.
“The Government of Barbados is therefore ready to collaborate with the private sector to ensure improved access to healthcare services for the Barbadian population and visitors to our country.”
He lauded Bayview Hospital for being a good corporate citizen over the 29 years of its existence.