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Small changes in healthcare could reap big benefits and save lives, BHeC says

Milton Ming (Photograph supplied)

Small adjustments and better co-ordination in the healthcare system could help save lives, the Bermuda Health Council said yesterday.

A BHeC spokesman said that the health service had excellent providers, sufficient equipment and adequate funding for the work performed on the island.

But he added: “There is a significant opportunity to improve on local care integration and reduce the amount of service silos.

“The core reason health reform has been on the agenda in Bermuda for the last 20 plus years is not because we specifically need more things added to our system, but we need the resources that already exist to work better together.

“This is not a call for wholesale replacement reform but smart adjustment reform – reform that is agile and meets the population health needs of the public for today and is able to adjust as needs evolve in the future.”

The BHeC representative was speaking after friends of the late Milton Ming, who was a veteran chef, said his life could have been saved if there had been better co-ordination in the healthcare system.

The Royal Gazette reported yesterday that Mr Ming suffered an aortic aneurysm last year and needed overseas treatment.

But his case was complicated by an old drugs conviction, which made travel to the US difficult and insurance that did not cover the full cost of overseas care.

Mr Ming’s friends were able to get a waiver for him to travel and funds were raised to cover the cost, but he died on December 29 before he was able to leave the island.

Friends said the barriers had not been insurmountable and that Mr Ming might have survived if there was better co-ordination in the healthcare sector and there had been a co-ordinated effort to tackle the problems he had faced.

The BHeC highlighted measures that were being introduced, such as an electronic medical record system, a unique patient identifier system and updated standards of care.

The spokesman said: “This is why we are recommending that health equity be a cornerstone of health decision making, because disparities in the outcomes of some impact us all.

“If there is one more thing we should be learning from this pandemic is that a planned system works much better than a reactive assortment of parts.”

The spokesman offered the BHeC’s condolences to the friends and family of Mr Ming but insisted no blame should be attached to individuals or bodies.

He said: “The hurt that is felt by the loved ones of Mr Ming is real. The opportunity to improve our public health programmes and health system to avoid preventable pain is also real.

“However, in the midst of being real, we also have to avoid the urge to target one person to blame, one organisation to hold accountable for results.

“Healthcare, and the actions that define its work, are so much more complex than just the contributions or limitations of one person or one organisation.”

The spokesman added: “Until we reach the place of attaining a perfect system, we all must lend a hand to save the lives of those around us.”

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Published January 19, 2022 at 7:50 am (Updated January 19, 2022 at 7:50 am)

Small changes in healthcare could reap big benefits and save lives, BHeC says

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