There must be a shift from curative health care to preventive health care, which will ensure not only reduced health care costs, but a healthier population.

That’s according to Prime Minister the Right Honourable Freundel Stuart, who is telling Barbadians that they too have a role to play in addressing how Government will continue to offer and finance high quality health care in this country. He told a packed auditorium at the Democratic Labour Party’s headquarters yesterday morning for the final day of the Party’s 61st Annual Conference, that the greatest contribution which citizens can make to this effort, is to take better care of their health.

“So that we can become a society that increasingly deals with health issues preventively at a much lower cost, rather than curatively at a much higher cost. If each of us can pay just a little more attention to those diseases that result from our own lifestyle choices and make a genuine effort at lifestyle changes, we will put less pressure on the health care system. In that connection, the job of public education on the issue of chronic non-communicable diseases is essential and must continue,” he told party supporters.

PM Stuart noted, that successive governments have earmarked funds to support the provision of a high quality of health care, but escalating costs require that they look for ways to finance this high quality of health care, in order to retain its best features. In that respect, he said the Ministry of Health has begun the consultation process which shall lead to a firm determination on the way forward for health care delivery in Barbados.

“Doctors are entitled to agitate for the best and most modern equipment; nurses for better remuneration and conditions of service; administrators for more modern systems and better physical conditions; and the public for more efficient and timely health care delivery. These are all legitimate concerns and must be addressed but they come at a cost and that issue is receiving the sustained attention of the Ministry of Health, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) and the Government of Barbados,” he added.

Turning his attention to education, he reminded those in attendance of the sustained support the DLP has given to education over the year – introducing free secondary education, reinforcing the country’s primary education system, vigorously promoting nursery education as well as promoting post-secondary and tertiary education by way of the construction of the Barbados Community College, the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, the Barbados Hospitality Institute, and the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies. He reinforced the DLP’s commitment to education, noting that it is the Party he now leads that also introduced seven of the eight public secondary schools in Barbados since 1961, and which is set to open another
secondary school in the near future.

The Prime Minister said that school, to be located at Searles, Christ Church, is at an advanced stage of the planning process.

“There can be no compromise, therefore, on how this Party approaches the delivery of education in Barbados. Having said that though, we must continue to monitor the escalation of cost in the sector and make sure that there is a more equitable and proportionate spread of the resources available for the education of our young people,” he added. (JRT)

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