The Ministry of Health is aiming to improve its delivery of quality health care services to Barbadians, at all levels.

This commitment was given by Minister of Health, Dr. David Estwick, as he addressed the 51st anniversary celebrations of the St. Philip Polyclinic at Six Roads, St. Philip, today.

Minister Estwick acknowledged that “at the primary care level, it will be necessary to ensure that the mix of general and environmental health and associated services are available, accessible and of a high standard.”

And, he added: “In this regard, we will need to consider the further development of the polyclinics by examining the possibility of upgrading some of them to offer radiological and diagnostic services to their particular catchment areas.” 

While lauding the “extended hours services” at the Randal Phillips and Maurice Byer Polyclinics, he said these were well-utilised and consideration would be given to expanding such services to other polyclinics.

The St. Philip Polyclinic came in for praise not only for attaining the milestone, but for its focus on community-based services. Its community visits, including school health programmes, stood at 2,455 in 2006, and increased to 2,656 in 2007.

The Health Minister disclosed that in order to strengthen the delivery of health care to the community, especially the elderly, his Ministry, with the support of the European Development Fund, had established a Task Force on Home and Community-based Health Care. 

It is made up of a diverse group of individuals from the government sector and non-governmental organisations that will help to advance plans and policies for the development of home and community-based care.

Dr. Estwick explained that the Task Force had been mandated to develop a comprehensive and integrated ‘Policy on Home and Community-based Care’.  It will focus on the proposals for the provision of rehabilitation care, services for persons with disabilities, children, the elderly and other vulnerable groups, as well as strategies to encourage greater community development.”

The St. Philip Polyclinic, as part of its commemorative activities, will soon be launching a “Patient Information Booklet” to inform persons about the wide range of services offered there. This is seen as necessary, given the changing demographic profile in the particular catchment area. According to recent statistics from that polyclinic, total clinic attendances increased from 32,249 in 2006 to 44,517 in 2007.

“This is likely the result of population growth in St. Philip and surrounding communities,” said the Health Minister.

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