Lecture Focuses on gaps affecting BVI’s Health System

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The 27th Annual Fredrick Augustus Pickering Memorial Lecture was held at the Eileen Parsons Auditorium at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College on 29 January. This year’s lecture was delivered by former Chief Nursing Officer at Peebles Hospital, Vessilie Mathavious under the theme: “Mind the Gaps! Governance, Execution and Accountability.”

Ms. Mathavious identified five critical gaps in the Territory’s health system and showed how remedying these gaps, administratively, could result in a stronger health care system. She said that the results would also include greater effectiveness of the country’s health institutions: — increased patient safety; improved client satisfaction; directions for managers and for monitoring facilities and services; enhanced health care accountability and transparency; and measures for containing health care cost.

The gaps impact authority, regulations, governance, standards, and accountability; but when the gaps are fixed the country’s health system will substantially benefit. It was also pointed that the lack of an approval and licensing process for health care services represents one gap in the health system.  “We are cautioned to mind gaps. To mind, is to take care of, to look after, to be careful with, to be disturbed about, to attend to,” Ms. Mathavious said.

The lecturer explained that the BVI health environment remains unregulated and free; and health care enterprises are required to meet no established standards, and submit to no authority.

Further she stated “New practices have opened and older practices have expanded in recent times, even as new methods are imported.  It is time to close the country’s health care gaps. It is a matter of population safety that there is no Health Services Authority to authorize, inspect and approve Health Services and Facilities. Power is vested in the Ministry of Health to create a Health Services Authority. In fact, a Health Services Authority, has been created, but for another purpose.”

Ms. Mathavious pointed out that that a system to authorize proposed Health Services should be instituted in the BVI.  “Its responsibilities would be to fit new proposals into the planned direction for the country, and to explore new, creative proposals that expand the country’s health care capacity,” she pointed out.

“It would generate health systems revenues from application fees, licenses and penalties, among other possibilities.  The Authority should have power to permit, to direct, and to ensure that what is proposed in the public and private health sectors not only fits into the country’s development plan or  proposes new approaches, but meets a standard of safety.  For the role of the Government in health is not only to ensure health services that meet the needs of the population, but also to ensure the safety of the population that seeks health services from any enterprise, public or private,” the Speaker noted.

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