Suggestions for Health Sector Reform in Trinidad and Tobago

Overall health reform refers to the changes in health operations, health planning and, health research that places significant emphasis on local health challenges aimed at increasing health administration, health planning and healthcare. They will incorporate to produce an efficient model of health-related delivery capable of increasing patient physical, medical and psychological safety. Health change should be driven by empirical data, best practice and evidence based practice. A variety of health statistics; such as death, manpower needs, technology working and patient satisfaction; should be analyzed and utilized in strengthening health systems. more info

In Trinidad and Tobago the existing system of healthcare is highly centralized. The Ministry of Health maintains in business oversight of 5 local health authorities. These are generally the North West Regional, North Central Regional, Eastern Local, South West Regional and Tobago Regional. South Western, North West and North Central are the most significant regions; each catering for the healthcare needs of more than three hundred or so thousand people. 

A significant reform needs to be the specialization of the Ministry of Well being in fewer functions directed to improve healthcare efficiency. For example, it can concentrate on data collection and analysis. It should be staffed with expert health researchers tasked with analyzing changes in epidemiology, and trends in morbidity and mortality. Furthermore, the Ministry of Health needs to have the power to tell regional authorities to make systemic and resource changes based on the information collected and analyzed. Local bodies should be ruled to provide health established statistics to the Ministry of Health quarterly. The Ministry of Health must maintain general oversight of regional authorities. It should produce gross annual reports structured on self- monitoring and analysis of the systems, performances and challenges in each region. Financial assertions and audits should be submitted annually to the Ministry of Health and factors accounting for difference should be justified. Tips should be made for improvements and incidences of white-collar crime prosecuted.

One particular major reform that should be implemented is allowing absolute autonomy to territorial health authorities for the delivery of healthcare. They will should be able to generate their own money by charging fees for their services. This would eliminate dependency on the state or Ministry of Finance for funding. Every regional health authority are able to invest in the stock market or undertake other income creating measures it deems feasible. Its money should be spent in accordance with the health needs of the human population it serves. Regional specialists should be in charge of major, secondary and tertiary health care. In addition, they should be given oversight of private hospitals and health facilities in their geographic regions. Private facilities should be subject to price controls to avoid expensive charges and should be required to pay at least ten percent with their twelve-monthly profit to the regional authority.

In addition, regional authorities should have the power to ensure that all health institutions and providers conform to national accreditation requirements. The Ministry of Overall health should be charged with responsibility for developing countrywide accreditation standards in all aspects of the businesses of health institutions. These kinds of should include hospitals, medical stores, private practice. Also regular and alternative medicines should be subject to certification standards. Everything and every health based institution should be subject to certification standards comparable with the ones from more developed countries such as Canada and the usa.