Island’s healthcare ‘stuck in a 1970s model’ and requires reform — Minister tells summit
Bermuda's healthcare system needs to change its focus and cut its costs, Health Minister Trevor Moniz has told healthcare professionals.
Mr Moniz said: “Despite Bermuda's small size, our health system is incredibly complex, fragmented and, at times, difficult for patients and healthcare providers to navigate.
“But we are too small to afford — or justify — the fragmentation in our system.”
He added: “This year's Budget has been an extraordinarily difficult one. Given the state of Government finances and the fiscal space we're constrained by, we had to make some very tough decisions.”
He added that cuts had had “a knock on” effect on the standard hospital benefit, its coverage and premium.
And Mr Moniz said: “But in my view this must be seen as a temporary fix while we find longer-term solutions to our systemic challenges.”
Mr Moniz was speaking to an audience of more that 100 healthcare professionals at a recent summit on healthcare for doctors, held at the Southampton Princess.
He told delegates that Bermuda had to change its approach to chronic non-communicable disease and concentrate on management and prevention outside the hospital system.
He added: “We're stuck in a 1970s model built around acute care — but 21st century population health needs and medical knowledge demand that we place much more focus on primary care, health maintenance and primary and secondary prevention.
“This requires reforming our basic health package.”
Mr Moniz said 2012 spending figures showed the Island spent $678 million on health — $10,562 per person, which made Bermuda's health system the second most expensive in the world.
He added that the Island had to “right-size” the new hospital, due to open later this year, and that the smaller emergency department would need to be “used appropriately”.
And he said the health system would need to change to ensure those in need of continuing care and alternative levels of care had options outside the hospital.
And Mr Moniz added: “We have to ensure that the healthcare dollars we do spend on hospitalisation are spent locally wherever possible and that healthcare providers and the public have confidence in local services so that overseas transfers are focused on cases that need care which is genuinely not available here.”