Suggestions for Health Sector Reform in Trinidad and Tobago

Health reform is the term used to describe modifications in health administration as well as health planning, research in health that puts a significant importance on local health issues with the aim of improving the health management and health planning as well as health care. These will result in an efficient system of healthcare delivery that is capable of enhancing patient physical, mental and emotional security. The health reform process should be driven by data-driven evidence that is based on best practice, evidence-based practice and -based practices. Many health statistics, such as mortality, manpower demands and technology performance, as well as satisfaction with care; should be examined and utilized in the improvement of health systems.

Within Trinidad and Tobago the current health system is extremely centralized. Its Ministry of Health maintains operational supervision of five local health agencies. They are: North West Regional, North Central Regional, Eastern Regional, South West Regional and Tobago Regional. South West, North West and North Central are the largest regions that each cater to the health requirements of more than 300,000 people.

The most significant change is the particularization in the Ministry of Health in fewer tasks that aim to increase the efficiency of healthcare. It could, for instance, focus on data collection and analysis. It must be staffed by experts in health research who are responsible for studying changes in epidemiology and trends in mortality and morbidity. In addition it should be able to instruct the Ministry of Health should have the power to direct local authorities to make modifications to the system and resources according to the information that are compiled and analysed. Regional bodies must be required to submit health-related statistics for Health officials at the Ministry of Health quarterly. It is the Ministry of Health must maintain the general oversight of regional authorities. The Ministry of Health should prepare annual reports based upon self-monitoring and evaluation of the system as well as the performance and challenges within every region. Financial statements and audits must be provided every year for the Ministry of Health and factors that account for variance must be justifiable. The recommendations should be made to improvement and the frequency of white collar crimes that are investigated.

One of the major changes that must be implemented is the granting of the absolute autonomy to local health authorities in the provision of health care. The authorities should have the ability create their own revenue through the charging of charges to provide their services. This will eliminate the dependence from the State and the Ministry of Finance for funding. Every regional health authority is required to be able to put money into the stock market, or take other revenue-generating initiatives they believe to be feasible. The money it earns must be utilized in line with the health requirements of the people they serve. Authorities in the region should be accountable for primary as well as secondary and tertiary health. They should also be able to supervise private hospitals and health centers within their geographical regions. Private hospitals should be subject to price control to prevent excessive charges. They must be liable for minimum ten percentage of their earnings to the authority responsible for the region.

Furthermore regional authorities should be given the ability to make sure that all health facilities and health providers are in compliance with standards of accreditation for national institutions. In addition, the Ministry of Health should be responsible for the development of standards for national accreditation in all areas of operation of health facilities. These include pharmacies, hospitals, and private practices. In addition, all alternative and conventional medicine should be accredited. All health-related establishment should be subjected to the same accreditation standards as those of developed countries like Canada as well as those of the United States.

It is evident it is essential that each authority’s boundaries should be changed to be nearly equal in size. As of now, South West Regional is responsible for a little more than one million residents. Given its resources the organization is unlikely to function at the highest effectiveness. Due to the fact that best health facilities are located in urban areas it is an obstacle that needs to be tackled with care. In order to accommodate this change regional authorities should encourage the establishment of joint private and public partnerships for the establishment of healthcare facilities in rural areas as well as other areas that aren’t accessible to major health and medical centers.

To improve the efficiency of the health system to improve efficiency, a central medical record database must be created and put into place. This will ensure that patients can access healthcare from any location. This would also allow easy access to the health information from any health facility managed and owned by any authority within the region. It is anticipated for Health officials from the Ministry of Health should take an active role in this undertaking. Patients’ records from private hospitals should be available to the regional authorities, as they might be transferred to a public hospital in the event that the medical care they require can’t be provided there. Sometimes due to financial reasons, like high costs patients could be transferred to a hospital that is public.

Employer policies should allow for the movement of skilled and expertise between regions. In some cases highly skilled surgeons and their caregivers must be available to patients from different regions on a need-based basis. Also that one region may offer another region the expertise of its physical or human resources required.

Regional bodies are able to collaborate on health planning. They can come up with their business, strategic and budget plans together. Then, they can modify the plans to meet the requirements of their respective populations. The primary benefits of central planning is greater transparency as well as accountability and inter-operational capabilities. Inter-planning will reduce regional competition and ensure that scarce resources are utilized effectively. In the end The Ministry of Health can compare the effectiveness of operations and best practices across all regions and offer opportunities to increase efficiency in the operational or institutional level.

The healthcare system must be overhauled so that it can provide top-quality healthcare to patients. Patients must be educated to benefit from a skilled well-organized, expertly managed health system. The reform should involve all stakeholders: the private sector, government and the public. A convergent bottom-up and top down model must be implemented to ensure that everyone is on board with health reform that can contribute to the development of social and economic of the nation’s human capital.

This article provides suggestions for reforms to the health sector within the small island called Trinidad and Tobago. If these reforms and others are implemented, the state’s overall health would be improved. The citizens will benefit from a healthy and well-run system.

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