A partial re-opening of St. Jude Hospital is expected soon. However, a date for its completion is still unknown.
Economic Development Minister Guy Joseph said the partial re-opening will involve the transferal of all the services of the hospital now located at the George Odlum Stadium despite the hospital will not be fully operational while operating at its old site.
He said that government will be following up on some of the recommendations made by a team hired to conduct a technical audit on the hospital.
With the hospital still under construction, it is unclear how government will achieve its projections for the health sector this financial year.
However, Governor General Dame PearletteLouisy at Tuesday’s opening of the Second Session of the Eleventh Parliament gave an insight into government’s plans for the health sector during her delivery of the Throne Speech.
According to her, St. Lucians will receive a health service that is patient-centered and provides a seamless continuum of care that meets the health needs of every resident, regardless of age, socioeconomic or health status.
“We are in the final stages of a design which will allow us to implement an integrated governance mechanism that will ensure the harmonization of our health development efforts,” she said, adding that the health sector will undergo major reforms in this financial year.
The Governor General further stated that government has declared its objective of ensuring that St. Lucians have a universal health service that delivers high quality care in an efficient and cost-effective manner, and that to ensure this, government will address the issues of governance, management, service quality and financing.
According to the Governor General, government is aware it will need to raise additional revenue to adequately fund the country’s health services and with the support of the European Union, is already designing a strategy that would embrace the concepts of fund pooling and strategic purchasing.
“The strategy will examine very carefully the development of a national health insurance model for financing health care. This is essential for the sustainability of the health sector. The strategy will address the issues of funding, the package of services and cost, purchasing and contracting, consumer choice, administration and regulation,” Dame Pearlette said.