HSA charity fund launched

A new charitable trust plans to raise money to buy much needed medical equipment for the Cayman Islands Hospital.

Launched at a Chamber of Commerce event at the hospital Thursday, the trust will be independent of government and the Health Services Authority and will instead be run by community members.

Bruce John, a wealth manager with Scotiabank involved in establishing the trust, said it will be similar to those that exist to support hospitals in the US, Canada and Europe.

‘Donations will go directly to fund the purchase of needed surgical, medical and testing equipment, as well as technology, and not to run the HSA and its operations,’ he said.

With the HSA in need of over $12 million worth of medical equipment, he hopes the fund will eventually help increase the scope of medical services available on island and drive down healthcare costs for everyone.

‘We cannot depend on government alone to fund the purchase of equipment,’ Mr. John continued.

‘We in the private sector must step up and help – let’s face it, healthcare is important to everybody’s lives,’ he said.

HSA Board Chair Pastor Alden Ebanks said the hospital has been able to cut costs by about $4 million a year over the past few years, but said it still needs the private sector’s help.

‘Providing the finest quality of healthcare requires investment in the latest equipment and technology, yet the cost of new technology is very high and the Cayman Islands hospital is finding it increasingly difficult to upgrade our equipment and facilities to keep pace,’ he said.

Mr. Bruce said people donating to the trust will be able to buy specific pieces of equipment – from small items such as IV poles up to big ticket equipment such a MRI scanners. In time, they will consider whether rooms or wings in the hospital can be named after the fund’s most generous benefactors.

Health Minister Anthony Eden said it had been taboo for government to consider taking money from the private sector when he first took office, but said healthcare is now too big and too important not to join in partnership with the private sector.

The business after hour’s event marked the launch of the new charity fund and also the relaunch of the hospital’s Hibiscus Conference Centre and Cafeteria, which was badly damaged in Hurricane Ivan.