The health care in the Caribbean Netherlands can be further improved without the need for extra money. This is apparent results from the advice of the Working Group Health Care Caribbean Netherlands. Minister of Health, Welfare and Sports (VWS) Edith Schippers who established the Working Group last year, has adopted the conclusions of the Working Group. Schippers wrote this today in letters to the Island Councils of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. The First and Second Chambers were also informed of this today.
The reason for the establishment of this Working Group was the hefty overruns of the healthcare expenditures in the Caribbean Netherlands: amounted to about 30% in 2012. Led by the former Governor of Curacao, Frits Goedgedrag, a workgroup (comprising island administrators, health care providers, the head of the Health Insurance Office BES ZVK and the Ministry of Health Care, researched the future of healthcare on the islands.
The Working Group argues that it is possible within the budgetary framework- for 2014 84, 2 million euros budgeted (excluding 4,7 million euros for youth care) to further develop health care in the Caribbean Netherlands. Any future budget overruns will not be automatically paid by the Minister, however collectively a solution will be sought for this.
An important element in the advice is the medical referrals. Good agreements (via protocols and standards) are needed regarding what are good referral letters and how medical specialists outside the territory of the Caribbean Netherlands should report about patients from the islands whose care is entrusted to them. Health care providers will draw up these protocols. The Health Insurance Office (ZVK) will further develop the logistical aspects of the referrals among others the daily allowances and transportation. Where it concerns the medical referrals from the Windward islands Saba and St. Eustatius, St. Maarten and St. Martin, will come more into view. The purchase of health care in Colombia and Guadeloupe will be limited.This from the premise that health care that is not on your own island will be sought as close as possible in the area. Interested parties argue that the crucial primary care (family physicians) on all three islands needs improvement. The knowledge and expertise of the general practitioners training of the Vrije Universiteit Medical Centre (VUmc) and the Amsterdam medical Centre (AMC) will be further exploited.
The advice also pays attention to communication and control information for health care policy, especially when it comes to epidemiological data and data on the use of health care. The availability of good management information is important for a well substantiated public health policy and is required to determine the effects of policy. The RIVM advises the islands how epidemiological data collection can be well organized.
At least once a year the parties will, as represented in the Working Group, meet to discuss progress and to see whether collectively and individually sufficient progress has been made.