Hon. Alvina Reynolds, Minister for Health, Wellness, Human Services and Gender Relations, spoke with passion and commitment today at an SLP Press Conference as she described the SLP’s intention to create a Universal Health Care system that will provide high quality and affordable health care for all Saint Lucians.
Minister Reynolds said
‘Universal Health Care has been our goal for years, and we are nearing the date when every Saint Lucian, regardless of economic means, will be guaranteed access to a basket of health services.
Founded on the principle that no one should have to worry about their ability to pay for their healthcare, this system will be a profound expression of our values as a nation. Universal Health Care will provide for a professionally managed health fund that is contributed to by diverse sources of revenue. In particular, we will ensure a strategy for the growth of private health insurance that contributes to the health fund.
The SLP is the party that cares for the people of Saint Lucia and we will not rest until every person has access to the diagnosis, treatment and care they need. ’
The Government has been laying the groundwork for Universal Health Care for many years. Between 1997 and 2006 it improved and modernized the delivery of health care by training over 75 doctors, refurbishing 15 Health Centres, and by eliminating Doctor’s Fees at all Health Centres.
We also delivered free screening and free diabetes and anti-hypertension medication under a Pilot UHC Programme, and made it possible for over 2000 nationals to receive free eye surgery in Cuba.
This is a record of delivery that the SLP has built on further since returning to office in 2011.
The SLP has created the best health care infrastructure of any country in the Eastern Caribbean, and quite possibly the English-speaking Caribbean.
We have rehabilitated The Dennery Hospital and refurbished the Soufriere Hospital; we have completely renovated the Ti Rocher Wellness Centre and constructed the La Guerre Wellness Centre; we have refurbished health centres at Babonneau, Micoud, Etangs, and Castries, and we have expanded the hours of operation of the Gros Islet Polyclinic until 12am, and added a dental department.
Access to skilled professionals and medication has also improved under Labour. We have invested in our medical professionals by providing scholarships to 162 public officers to undergo specialised training in health services.
We have made medication more affordable by providing free medication for diabetics and persons diagnosed with high blood pressure; by removing the VAT on medication; and by agreeing an amnesty to persons with outstanding arrears at Victoria Hospital and St. Jude Hospital.
The SLP is committed to caring for the people of Saint Lucia, and very soon, we will open and operate the modern, state-of-the-art Owen King-EU Hospital.
St. Jude Hospital is also nearing completion meaning that residents of the south of the island will soon have a high quality hospital serving their needs and those of the people of Saint Lucia in general.
Universal Health Care is the next step on our journey to delivering a health service that supports every person in Saint Lucia. All of this is because you have a Labour Government that is dedicated to looking after the health and wellbeing of its citizens.