Free Healthcare For BARBADIANS

Minister of Health Donville Inniss

What is all the hullabaloo about regarding who should get free healthcare in Barbados? Is it not a simple matter? You show proof of Barbadian citizenship and voila, the transaction is done. If it were so simple. It seems we live in times when to be educated does not mean an ability to be solution oriented.

BU has delivered some deserved licks to Minister Donville Inniss in the past on how he handled the Ishmael Sparman matter and a few other matters. There is that name Sparman again! The Minister is always the first to remind Barbadians he is the son of a fisherman and therefore his back has the texture of a turtle. On the matter of enforcing the rules which direct who should get free healthcare, BU is 100% behind the minister. It seems every matter under the sun has to be politicised nowadays in Barbados to satisfy political expediency.

The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) opposition led by Mia Mottley has started to rail about the health of Barbados coming under threat because of the improved vigilance demanded by Minister Donville Inniss on who gets free healthcare. A policy of enforcing existing regulation appears to be separating the legal from the illegal. The minister is on record promising favourable consideration to Barbadians who have been lazy in processing their ‘papers’ to the Immigration Department and therefore have been exposed by the process.

On the weekend the local media reported a backlog of filings to the Immigration Department going back several years. The BU family warned about the open door policy of the previous government and the seeds of wanton mismanagement sowed at the building on the Wharf Road now coming back to bite Barbados in the rear. The irony is that we have a BLP now in opposition who would seek to make political hay at the situation being played out. Of course a big consideration for the effort is cost reduction in the healthcare sector, who is denying it? At the same time the minister is not an ass, he must have functionaries in his ministry who are capable and obligated by law to apprise him about the impacts of his rigorous enforcement of policy.

Did we hear the same bawling when illegal immigrants were squatting in Zone 1 areas during the last administration? Did we hear the same cacophony when illegal immigrants were reported to be renting pig pens for accommodation during the last administration? Did we hear the same noise when one and two room apartments were being rented to ten people at a time during the last administration? Did the aforementioned practices not pose a threat to the health of Barbadians at the time? While a tit for tat policy is not condoned by BU, the illustration serves to expose the hypocrisy of politicians. Surely healthcare is an issue which should not be made a political football. Why must we politicise everything in Barbados?

During the last general election the anti-Barbados position adopted by the BLP on immigration was one of those issues which did not endear it to Bajans. It seems we have a case of a group of people bent on repeating mistakes of the recent past. Barbadians will be the ones to vote next general election not Caricom citizens legal or illegal. Here we are in a slow economic period with government under severe pressure from those same BLP voices clamouring to reduce the current account deficit. One would like to believe that on the issue of healthcare politicians can dispense with taking this matter to the football field.

If you are Barbadian in possession of obligatory citizenship ‘papers’ free healthcare is waiting for you. If you do not have the ‘papers’ you have to pay! Exceptions will be made on a case by case business given the mess inherited at the Immigration Department which fuelled the laissez faire approach to immigration in Barbados in the recent past.

139 thoughts on “Free Healthcare For BARBADIANS

  1. And David and Jay:

    New comers or returnees may be asked to contribute for 1 year or MORE before that can access the “free” health care system. It may actually be MORE that one year. It should be the acturarily decided amount whatever that is, so what if it is 4 years? or 5? or 10? Medical care costs, and everybody who takes out of the pot (or hopes to take out of the pot) should put in the pot.

    Nothing unfair about that.

  2. Was it reported in the news today that Minister Donville Inniss has ordered an investigation into why the QEH/public health establishments have been without justification charging for drugs.

    • @Caswell

      Government seems to be saying that it needs to cut out the wastage in healthcare delivery cost in Barbados. Did we not hear somewhere that BAMP has been sitting at the table with the Drug Service officials deciding what drugs to add or subtract from the formulary?

  3. I am going to be generous and say that Government might just be myopic, concerned only with reduction in cost of the Drug Service. Otherwise, they are showing wreckless disregard for the lives of people who depend on free drugs from the Drug Service. They must be aware by now that lots of the generic substitutes DO NOT WORK.
    Most of the people who get free medication are mostly persons who are past their productive lives. It would appear that Government is saying that they are expendible and not worth the money being spent on them. How else could you sensibly explain the changes to the Drug Srevice? Is Government saying that it is cheaper to let them die?

  4. Giving people cheap generic drugs that don’t work is not only cutting out the wastage: it is manslaughter.
    I hope that one example of drug substitution would suffice. A family member was prescribed Remeprazole they substiuted with Alocid, both are Omeprazole but the Alocid did not work.

  5. There was some talk earlier in this thread that made reference to the British system. I know a little bit of how the UK system works as I have relatives up there. But one thing I do know is that my son spent three years up there studying and he had access to free health care. He registered through his university and was able to have access to a clinic nearby.

  6. A few weeks ago a claim was made that there was a proposal put forward to the Board of the QEH with a view to charging fees for services. Donville Inniss came out swinging saying it was not true. How could he now be saying that he has ordered an investigation into the high charging of fees at the same QEH which he denied??? Boggles the mind.

    I have been told by medical persons that the generic drugs out of Canada and Britain are alright. The government through the spouse of a cabinet minister is sourcing these generic drugs out of Africa and India which are not good and therein lies the problem for the elderly folk.

    But tell me how much cost could the government be looking to cut when in place of one brand name drug, they are buying two or three generic drugs. They would only make a savings if the drugs are costing three cents!

    Pennywise and a pound foolish. In typical DLP style.

  7. prodigal sun you are dangerous and misleading with that statement. where did u hear that he was saying that he has ordered an investigation into the high charging of fees at the same QEH which he denied??? i realise ppl from both bees and dees like to put words in ppl mouths.

  8. Donville Inniss denied that that a proposal was sent to the board to charge fees after Jerome Walcott read from the said draft policy. Dexter James apparently had not heard that the minister denied the proposal and confirm that there was indeed a proposal sent to the board.

  9. @Random Thoughts wrote,”You are welcome to spend those 184 days in Barbados,”


    You can’t tell me what I can or cannot do so if you were standing in front of me, I would tell you to go and masturbate except I would use language that would make Bonny Peppa proud.

  10. Buh wait doh.

    Page 33 of BarbadosToday. ” BIDC launching Barbadian products in specialty stores in Canada.”

    CanadianBajans let us support our Bajan producers even though some bad minded Bajans doan want we down dey when we get ole.

    I have been able to get Windmill pepper sauce and frozen flying fish but I am looking forward to more Bajan products up here.

    I hope somebody tell Peter Miller to put real tumeric in he peppa sauce and sell it as a “premium” product.
    It will save me from having to put a package of tumeric powder in he peppa sauce like I does do now.

    Any a wunna evah had plain rice wid gravy mek wid onions, an tumeric grine up in a morta pessul ?

  11. Hants please don’t pee on me. It it the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) which cuts you of if you spend more thatn 184 days outside of Canada, even though you have paid into the system for 40 years or more.

    Take your fight to OHIP.

  12. Hants if you are planning to spend more than 184 days in Barbados bring your privately purchsased health insurance with you (just like if you are going to Florida or anywhere else)

  13. Sent Little Johnny to the private pharmacy to pick up my medicine of Monday (because I am too busy working and paying taxes to do it myself; and Little Johnny had no time to wait ’bout in the polyclinic because Little Johnny had an exam on Monday and had to turn around quick, quick. Little Johnny is studying hard so he can become a tax payer in the future) the pharmacist gave Little Johnny an Indian made subsitute instead of the French made drug I have been using for he past year.

    Neither the Minister of Health nor the pharmacist consulted my doctor or me.

    I feel like I have been baited and switched by the Minister of Health.

    David if I disappear offa this blog you will know that the Indian substitute did not work and you will know who killed me.

  14. Since I have an excellent health insurance plan provided by my employer I wonder why the Ministry if Health insists on giving me cheap “free” medicine anyhow?

    Why not let my insurance company pay for my medicine?

    And when I have to go to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (knock on wood, I’ve never needed to be hospitalized yet) why not let my insurance company pay the bill?

    Why give me “free” medical care when my insurance company is willing and able to pay the QEH, the polyclinic, the doctor, and the pharmacist?

  15. Free Healthcare? Is there such a thing? Barbados tax revenue pays for healthcare; all taxpapers and bonafide citizens should be entitled to it.

  16. I decided to take the time out to read and review comments made by Minister Inniss on several matters recently and must say that he really has been mis-interpreted and mis-represented on many fronts.
    1. Barbados Drug Service has over the past decade or more had at least 70% of its drugs being generic as opposed to branded drugs. There has been no changes here in principle. The efficay of all drugs on formulary are tried and tested and proven. Barbados does not engage in buying cheap and ineffective drugs from inferior plants.
    2. BAMP, Pharmaceutical Society, patient advocates, etc were all represented on the committee that advised on changes to the formulary.
    3. Minister Inniss has consistently indicated that there has always been and will always been changes to formulary as new info comes to light.
    4. All illnesses previously covered remain covered under new formulary. people just need t consult with their doctors.
    5. There is no new policy in terms of who is entitled to free healthcare in Barbados. It has always been citizens and permanent residents. The Minister of Health has simply decided on the kinds of ID that would be accepted in state owned healthcare facilities as proof of citizenship or residency.
    6. There is no way that any healthcare worker would know if one has been here for 40 years or 40 days! If people feel entitled to free healthcare and it is so important then why not go to the immigration dept and sort themselves out. I checked and there is no major backlog in appplication for residency in Barbados. I suspect it is a case where many people are not bothering to apply.
    7. Those who are entitled to free healthcare are also entitled to free education, welfare, etc.
    8. Paying taxes and NIS have never been related to free access to healthcare or education. If so, my wife who has never worked should never have received open heart surgery. and she was borned here and has lived here all her life. My 3 children got free education all their lives, right up to UWI. I never paid enough in taxes to cover such.
    9. I read his recent speech and Minister Inniss never spoke to any one being overcharged, he was very clear in reference to those who should be receiving free healthcare but are being charged high fees to have procedures done in QEH. eg. those who should receive surgeries but are being told to find the money to pay for it or wait 18 months. That is what he complained about and asked CEO to investigate. this is different than what Mascoll and Jerome are talking about.

    I admire Minister Inniss. he has certainly faced reality and is prepared to do the right things for the benefit of all. he can be cursed and threatened, but he is definitely a politician who is not afraid o make unpopular decisions which redound to he benefit of all. He has my full support.

  17. @happy to say

    You are right on the ball.
    I will vote for him the next elections having voted against him last time. I like what he stands for.

    People need to do their research before spouting nonsense on this site. The policy that was there beore is just being enforced. Both Jerome and Mia know that, but their administration did nothind about it becasuse they were underminding Barbadians and pampering to those foreigners whose votes they wanted.

    As for BAMP which can get a meeting convene first time around, I am told that Carlos Chase, Clyde Cave and those Consultants abuse the system and exploit Barbadians by charging huge fees and guess who are being exploited, poor Barbadians and those are people who received free medical training. I haerd that they amde a pact to publicise false information about him to have the PM moved him as Minister of Health, but PM be warned.

    I give Donville and Michael Lasley an A- and hope that other Ministers could raise the bar.

    All you bloggers who blog on emotion, forget it. Do you remeber when BarbADOS use to carry the education burden at UWI for most of those Eastern Caribbean countries. WE DO NOT HAVE MONEY TO BURN.

    The Nation Reporters need to apologise to the Minister.

  18. @David

    Hope the bloggers get the facts straight now.

    I wish to repeat, persons not entitlled to free health care will receive if their illness present a challenge to the health of this country, the minister has always stetd that in his mouthings.

    I amazed at Mia, someone I alaways admire for her articualtion, had to call to state that the non-graning of free health care to those not entitled to it will compromise our health care. Mia do you recognize that Barbadans are not stupid, expecailly those of us floating voters who decide the outcome of an election. I was wondering why seymour ousted you as leader and is beginning to think that he has seen things that we Barbadains sannot see. Note I have no respect for Seymour who was disrepectful to his cabinet colleagues and Barbadians who oppose him

    @Tina and friends

    Hope you fully grasp the facts about the health care debate. that have eluded you

  19. @ Observer
    “Both Jerome and Mia know that, but their administration did nothind about it becasuse they were underminding Barbadians and pampering to those foreigners whose votes they wanted.”

    Unable to access free health care but can decide who governs. Utter madness!

  20. @Happy to say

    What you have eluded to is basically what I’ve been saying all along most countries base their entitlements on a more permanent immigration status…….not whether taxes are payed or not into the system,and any such assertion I think is ridiculous to the memory of those whom implmented it.Errol Barrow was the Premier of Barbados since 8 December 1961 and thus can be said was responsible for implementing said policy SINCE 1962….can’t believe some would disrespect his memory by calling the current policy suspect considering history.

  21. David & BU there is a interesting story in today edition of The Trinidad Guardian,which highlights the killing of a Chinese national & the abduction of a female Chinese business woman.There is speculation in Trinidad that a network of organised Chinese Mafia is operating in that country.It states The Trinidad Police are unable to solve the murder & kidnapping because of the language barrier,the complicity of the politicians & senior government officers.
    David & BU,I believe that development in Trinidad & Tobago could have an impact on Barbados because we have an emerging Chinese population in Barbados and an organised Chinese Mafia in Trinidad & Tobago is a frightening development for this region.
    David & BU and fellow bloggers,I believe that article in today’s Trinidad Guardian should be read and if possible an extract should be highlighted on the blog.
    I believe that is too important a development in our neighbouring island that it should go not being highlighted.

  22. Happy to say “Paying taxes and NIS have never been related to free access to healthcare or education. If so, my wife who has never worked should never have received open heart surgery. and she was borned here and has lived here all her life. My 3 children got free education all their lives, right up to UWI. I never paid enough in taxes to cover such.”

    So somebody else paid. No wonder you are so happy. Other people have been paying your family”s bills.

    Dear happy to say : While your wife was never working, probably spending too much time at home sitting and eating and while your children were enjoying “free” education and you never paid enough tax to pay for such.

    I was the body paying for your wife’s open heart surgery, and your 3 children’s “free” university education.

  23. While listening to Minister of Finance Sinckler last night, it seems this government is well on its way to reducing its expenses by streamlining the many duplicated depts created by the Owen Arthur administration. While this is a step in the right direction, it baffles me why the P.M would insist in retaining M.P Kellman in the cabinet, right now it appears there are two Ministers of Drainage. If this government is serious in cutting expenses, they must start right at home and reduce the size of their cabinet which at the monment is the biggest ever in this country, there are ministers now who are just drawing a salary and taking overseas trips. Time is drawing near, the DLP must gear themselves for the next general elections and convincing the voting public that they are ready for a second term, to do this they MUST set the example.

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