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‘Don’t Give Up On Universal Health Care’ – Dr. King

A FORMER Chief Medical Officer is calling for island-wide unity within the health sector, saying it is the only way there will be any improvement which, he said, is desperately needed.

Dr. Stephen King said division is the key issue plaguing the sector and serves as the complete opposite of what is needed to see a better health sector in St. Lucia.

“Our St. Lucian health sector is plagued by division and what we need to do is create an integrated system — integrated between community and hospitals and between the public and the private sector — because at the end of the day, everybody’s got the same objectives and we need to come together as one team for one health,” Dr King said.

He said this is not solely the fault of the current administration or even the one before as the issue has existed for decades and administration after administration has been only all talk and no action. It is high time, he said, that the talk turns into action.

“That’s what the whole Universal Health Care concept is all about,” Dr. King said. “That’s where we have to go — that’s what government has on the drawing board. But we need to move beyond the talk and we need to now implement.”

He continued: “We’ve been in health sector reform mode for a long time. There are documents from before 1980 on health reform and the prescriptions for the health sector and there’s been piecemeal implementation of certain things. But the public is quite right and the frustration is high.”

Dr. King, who became a doctor in 1983, said that from the beginning of his medical career, he has been trying to make a difference in the sector. He said that although the task may seem near impossible, perseverance is a must and those fighting for an improved health sector should never give up.

“My personal results have been marginal, so I understand the frustration, probably even more than many of the younger people that are feeling the frustration now,” he stated. “But we have to persist.”

He added: “In other words, we must persevere and do the right things and get the right things done. It may take us 20 years, it may take us 40 years, it may take us 5 years. But we have to persist because what is right is right.”

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