Not a single recommendation from the much-ballyhooed National Health Policy & Strategic Plan for the Cayman Islands 2012-2017 has been carried out over the last four years, according to Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller.
Mr. Miller made his remarks during his motion on Thursday to create a select committee of four government legislators and two opposition members that would review all aspects of the territory’s healthcare industry.
Not many details of the function or powers of the proposed committee were discussed, but Mr. Miller said it would hold public hearings with healthcare industry stakeholders and then make recommendations on improving access to and quality of the territory’s medical services.
Such a body is necessary due to the lack of action by government to improve an industry that is at “crisis level,” said the opposition leader.
A lack of access to insurance by Caymanians due to high prices and a lack of access to quality services by senior citizens are two of the largest problems plaguing the territory, according to Mr. Miller.
Legislators were still debating the motion as of press time, with Minister of Health Dwayne Seymour and Premier Alden McLaughlin both speaking against the motion.
Mr. Seymour disputed Mr. Miller’s characterization that government has not done anything in recent years to improve Cayman’s medical services.
He said that legislation was amended in 2013 to improve access, affordability, and quality of health care for all residents. The minister said the Health Insurance Law and its regulations were also amended to increase benefits under standard insurance contracts, adding that government also made it so that all residents are eligible for the standard insurance plan.
Currently, Mr. Seymour said, healthcare regulators are continuing to monitor the health sector and additional human resources will be added “in the coming months” to ensure that all industry players are complying with the law.
“I am satisfied that after three months in office, we are heading in the right direction,” he said.
Mr. McLaughlin added that his administration is working hard to improve healthcare for all residents in the territory, but that it doesn’t want its “hands tied” by a select committee.