Point Fortin mayor Clyde Paul pleaded not guilty yesterday when he appeared in court not far from his office at the Borough Corporation charged with drunk driving. Paul, 72, was granted $5,000...
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Fuad: Health card to clamp down on non-nationals
Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan says the implementation of the National Health Card will clamp down on non-nationals seeking free medical attention at public health institutions. Khan said as far as he knows, the ministry has no policy in place that restricts free healthcare to non-nationals. In the coming weeks, Khan said, Government will roll out the cards, which would generate a policy that would allow medical services to only nationals and some non-nationals who work here.
“They have been coming here (non-nationals) for a long time. It creates an increase utilisation of the healthcare system. So that is why I am putting the health card in place so we could determine who are the beneficiaries for that system. But the emergency system will be a different thing. We can’t stop that...for people to get emergencies.” Khan said the card would generate its own policy to treat with national and non-nationals. “So if you don’t have a health card you cannot get in.”
Khan’s comments came after the death of 35-year-old Guyanese national Jeetindra Sookram, who was denied medical attention at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex on Thursday because he was not a T&T citizen. Khan said the ministry would also put prices on the cost of medical procedures as well. “If I am going for a national health insurance system, I must be able to cost my procedures. Our people would get it for free. Non-nationals would have to pay for it.”
Khan also advised visitors entering our shores to walk with their insurance. “Maybe we should set up a policy that before you come into the country let us see your medical insurance. Medical insurance is not expensive.”
Mohammed: Insurance will not foster good relationship with Caricom
Chairman of the North Central Regional Health Authority Shehenaz Mohammed said asking non-nationals to walk with their insurance “does not make sense.” She said this would not foster a good relationship among Caricom countries.
Gopee-Scoon: The matter warrants immediate communication
Former foreign affairs minister Paula Gopee-Scoon said even if someone is in T&T illegally, “I believe there ought to be a human rights obligation to treat with them should a medical emergency arise.” Gopee-Scoon said T&T would certainly want its nationals to be attended to if they fall ill in another country. Healthcare providers, Gopee-Scoon said, should have an obligation to treat anyone in distress. Gopee-Scoon said this matter warrants immediate communication and apologies from T&T.
“I believe Caricom would be of the same view seeing that our islands are a community.”
Gafoor: Recommendations yet to be implemented
Gladys Gafoor, who chaired a Commission of Enquiry into the public health sector, producing an exhaustive report in 2006, said from a humane point of view anyone who is ill should not be denied medical attention. Gafoor said most of the recommendations in the report was yet to be implemented.