Health Minister John Boyce has announced that his Ministry is currently preparing proposals for the reform of the health financing system in Barbados.

Speaking at a ceremony to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Bayview Hospital last Saturday evening, Mr. Boyce said that consultations involving all stakeholders, including Bayview Hospital, will begin soon.

He said the challenge was to find ways to establish a sustainable health financing model to ensure that the population continued to receive the best care at a price which the country could afford.

???Even as we seek to give Barbadians greater assurance of continuous improvement in our health care system, we must not inadvertently create a financial challenge for future generations,??? he submitted.

The Health Minister noted that health care costs had risen significantly in the past few years. A key reason for this, he said, was that more advanced medical treatments and technologies were being adopted which achieved better outcomes for patients.

???These have become more commonly available due to the pervasiveness of communication technology and Barbadians expect these technologies to be available for their treatment. However, they are also more costly,??? he stated.

Mr. Boyce said that in order to build a cost-effective system and manage health care costs, Government was committed to working further with the community, health care providers and insurers. The primary aims, he said, were to make healthy living as affordable as possible and to ensure that health care dollars were spent wisely through increased productivity, improved efficiency and reduced wastage.

???The constant challenge is how to balance the finite government budget among the competing needs of health care and the other services to which we have grown accustomed,??? the Minister added.

Noting that Government, providers and patients had a responsibility in managing health care costs, he challenged that ???the starting point is for every Barbadian to take ownership of his health by living healthily, seeking treatment early and making informed choices in seeking treatment???.

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