Affordable healthcare is your right
Bermuda Health Strategy 2022-2027 will provide the vision for a healthy Bermuda and outline the strategic reforms for our health system, reaffirming the Government's commitment to universal health coverage. It is the fundamental right of every man, woman and child to have access to quality, affordable healthcare regardless of their station in life.
Healthcare reform will strengthen Bermuda's healthcare system and ensure all people have equitable access to healthcare information and essential services. No one will be forced into poverty owing to healthcare costs.
This strategy includes partnerships and collaboration working with key stakeholders and consultants. As a result, our island will move closer to reaching our goal of Universal Health Coverage for all people.
The Bermuda Health Strategy 2022-2027 promotes healthy living and preventive care. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".
Empowering and supporting Bermudians to incorporate healthy habits into their lives requires providing the tools and resources. This will enable all of us to make lifestyle choices that improve our health and save the country millions of dollars in the process.
The Bermuda Health Strategy emphasises eight core areas:
• Promoting healthy living and preventive care
• Focusing on people-centred care
• Understanding our population’s health needs
• Providing universal access to healthcare coverage
• Strengthening our healthcare workforce
• Harnessing healthcare technology
• Partnership and collaborative working
• Preventing wasteful care and promoting efficiency
This strategy represents a shift to a more person-centred approach to healthcare, which will include individuals in decision-making processes and focus on their individual needs. This ensures continuity of care across service providers, which contributes to improved outcomes.This approach to healthcare will meet the needs of individuals and families today and in the years ahead.
Affordable and accessible healthcare is an essential pillar of sustainable development and our island's success.
Under the present system, 35 per cent of the population cannot afford quality healthcare — including thousands of uninsured and under-insured. Approximately 23 per cent of Bermuda’s population has defined health insurance as unaffordable. Our people are struggling with the ever-increasing cost of medical care, which results in significant stress. It is a fact that stress can exacerbate potentially deadly medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.
Bermuda has the third highest cost in healthcare among countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, spending 11.55 per cent of its gross domestic product on health. Before the global pandemic, the annual cost of dialysis treatment was $29 million, with the demand for services growing by 10 per cent every year.
If we are to promote and sustain a healthy population and economy, we must reform our healthcare system and, most importantly, provide universal healthcare for the residents of Bermuda.
Healthcare reform does not happen overnight. The necessary health system strengthening is incremental, and will take place over the long term — initially a period of three to five years. We invite you to play a role by reading the Bermuda Health Strategy 2022-2027 at https://www.gov.bm/reports and sharing your thoughts and ideas so that our island moves towards providing access to quality affordable healthcare for all.
• Arianna Hodgson is a government senator and the Junior Minister of Health