Health Minister John Boyce has made it clear that any solution for financing health care in Barbados must be underpinned by a system that continues to provide equitable access.

Speaking at the final town hall meeting to canvas public opinion on the way forward last Monday evening, Mr. Boyce stated: ???Our focus on developing a financial model that continues to embrace universal access to health care while maintaining equity and equality cannot be compromised.???

He noted that managing health care for any country was a significant challenge, and in Barbados rising costs in healthcare provision had presented the challenge to find a sustainable solution. The Health Minister said that Government financed a range of health services and other Government activities from revenues generated from taxes.

He submitted: ???The absence of specially allocated or earmarked funds for the provision of healthcare services has seen the need to review our funding mechanisms and to develop initiatives which support population coverage in a strengthened healthcare system.???

He said that he was pleased that many of the ideas expressed at the town hall meetings by members of the public articulated the need to refocus on health education, preventative programmes and early intervention as opposed to primarily focusing on remedying sickness.

???Such early intervention as a strategy would not only improve the country???s overall health status, but would also reduce the cost of healthcare delivery,??? he maintained.

The Health Minister told the audience that their participation in the meetings signaled a willingness to be ???necessary partners in this important venture??? and this, he added, would be of tremendous value in setting the tone for the development of policy.

He applauded the commitment of the public and all who participated as panellists at the five town hall meetings. The recommendations made at the meetings will inform a Cabinet Paper on the financing and reorganizing of the healthcare system.

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