Fletcher, P. R.; McDonald, Archibald H.; McCartney, T.; Carpenter, Reginald A.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Department of Surgery, Radiology, Anaesthesia and Intensive Care
Surgery in Jamaica
Archives of Surgery
Date of Publication
This research provides detailed information on the quality and quantity of tertiary health care offered in the public hospitals in Jamaica in general but more so on surgey during the period 2001-2002. It discusses the information under the following headings: hospital facilities, surgical diseases, graduate surgical training, staffing, research and health care financing. The research indicates that the national budget of Jamaica in 2001-2002 was J $22 billion (US $400 million). Of this, 3.9% was budgeted for health. To properly finance the Ministry of Health, between 9% and 10% of the national budget is required, so it is evident that health is underfunded. Health care in Jamaica is financed by the government of Jamaica, by fee for service, and by private health insurance. There is no national health care plan. Initially, access to government-supported (public) hospitals was free. Recently, because of the underfunding of the health sector, it has become necessary to charge fees based on the ability to pay, but no patient is denied care because of the inability to pay. This is an unsatisfactory situation, and the public hospitals continue to be without adequate financial resources. Upgrading and replacement of equipment is slow and often depends on philanthropy from the private sector. A national health fund is expected to be launched to help pay for the cost of drugs for patients having long-standing diagnoses of chronic diseases, such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and arthritis. A national health insurance scheme has been proposed, which should assist in recovering the costs of hospitalization, especially for the indigent. Surgical options have become increasingly complex and sophisticated, but in most hospitals there is a need for well-trained general surgeons with additional experience in the care of the trauma patient, especially during the acute phase. With the support of adequate numbers of nurses, some with graduate training, and the regular availability of basic laboratory and imaging services, it will be possible to provide the level of surgical care for the Jamaican people appropriate to their needs and size. ....