A Universal Health Care System will be established by the Saint Lucia Labour Party when it gets into office. This was announced by the Political Leader of the Saint Lucia Labour Party and Opposition Leader, Hon. Philip J Pierre, at the Virtual Opening of the party’s 2020 Conference of delegates on the evening of Sunday 15th November 2020.
In an address which outlined some of the Labour Party’s Policies for governance, Hon. Pierre said with regard to the Health sector: “Universal access to health care remains a priority of a Labour Government and we shall continue the process we started since we were last in office to establish a Universal Health Care system. We believe that accessible and affordable health care is the greatest priority of an SLP government.”
During its last term in Government from 2011- 2016, the Saint Lucia Labour Party had completed extensive studies and planning on the establishment of Universal Health Care in Saint Lucia. Some aspects of this were already in place with persons suffering from diseases like diabetes and hypertension, receiving free medication. Heath or Wellness Centres around the island were either improved or new ones constructed.
The crucial element of the Universal Health Care System was the creation of a basket of services, including health insurance, which citizens would have been able to access, with the greater part of the cost of these services being borne by Government. At the time the Saint Lucia Labour Party lost the elections of June 2016, its Kenny Anthony Government was considering the cost of the system which was reported to have been considerable. The incoming Allen Chastanet UWP Government discontinued the work on the SLP plan.
In relation to the Plan, the Opposition Leader added, “As part of our health care system, we shall encourage and support healthy lifestyles as a complementary health policy initiative, because too many of our citizens suffer from non-commutable diseases like hypertension and diabetes.”
In his address, Hon. Philip J. Pierre expressed disappointment with the health care system in Saint Lucia, referring in particular to the island’s two major hospitals.
“The state of health care in Saint Lucia remains a source of concern and disappointment, in particular the lack of progress at the St Jude Hospital, which is no closer to completion than it was four and a half years ago. Upon coming into office, a Labour government will waste no time in having St Jude Hospital completed. Too much time and resources have been spent on this project. The people of Saint Lucia, particularly the residents of the south, deserve better.
We are pleased that OKEU has finally become operational and has, at least for now, avoided the threat of being run by a private entity. We shall ensure that the running of OKEU is not privatized and remains under the control and management of the government and people of Saint Lucia.”