No More User Health Fees April 1

In keeping with the commitment it made to the Jamaican people, the Government will abolish user fees at public hospitals and health facilities with effect from Tuesday, April 1.

This was stated by Governor General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Professor Sir Kenneth Hall, when he delivered the Throne Speech at the State Opening of Parliament on March 27, which marks the beginning of the 2008/09 fiscal year.

“Measures have already been put in place to manage the increased patient flow which is expected to result from unrestricted access. The operating hours of selected health centres will also be extended and steps will be taken to encourage greater use of those facilities for cases that do not require hospital attendance,” Sir Kenneth pointed out.

The Governor-General emphasized that the people must have access to affordable health care.

To ensure the smooth implementation of the elimination of the user health fees, the Health Ministry has established implementation teams, has put in place a command centre, and has been training front line members of staff.

Health care workers will also be trained to manage queries from staff and patients about the policy.

The following services will now be free at all public health facilities, except the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI): registration; doctor’s examination; surgeries; medications; diagnostic services; haematology; services for mothers and children, including family planning and pregnancy tests; ambulance service; physiotherapy; blood transfusions and laboratory tests.