Categorized | National News

Dr. Sands Urges Gov’t to Implement NHI

Although many publicly oppose the implementation of National Health Insurance (NHI), cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Duane Sands said despite the opinion of others, the government should not postpone the implementation.

Dr. Sands was the guest on Love 97’s Jones and Co. talk show yesterday where he expressed his full support of universal health care and believes NHI is a reasonable way to have it. He also said he agrees that NHI in the country is a “moral imperative”.

“Any society is judged not by how much it does for the rich and famous in the population, but what it does for and how it deals with the most vulnerable persons in the population,” he said.

“So when we talk about NHI, the question is what does a civil society which we aspire to be do in order to improve the health for those individuals who are least able to avail themselves of healthcare? So I certainly am a supporter of universal health care and I believe that NHI is a reasonable way to accomplish it.”

Dr. Sands said despite the noise in the market, he doesn’t believe NHI should be held off. He said he has taken into consideration the financial state of many people but still believes taxes shouldn’t wait.

“We have already begun the march down the road to universal health coverage, but the real question is if we as a people are going to choke from biting off more than we can swallow,” he said.

Dr. Sands said one of his fears is that after Bahamians spend taxes upon taxes (NHI and value-added tax) the money won’t be spent right.

“Over 80 per cent of the money on health care goes to salaries and not equipment, medication, tests, etc.,” he said.

“We waste so much money on salaries it is unbelievable. The average clinic should contain four or five non-clinical staff to every physician, but here in The Bahamas we have 14 to every possession. So often we put staff over clinical care. That’s where most of the money goes.”

Dr. Sands said the government should go ahead with NHI, but begin to introduce a system now.

He added that the situation should be an open discussion and politicians should refrain from polarizing it to welcome opinions from citizens across the country.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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