Senator Johnathan Joseph is appealing to the Health authorities to make it less onerous for persons to obtain financial assistance to seek specialized medical treatment.
Making specific reference to sick constituents in St. Mary’s North, the United Progressive Party (UPP) Candidate says many of them are poor people who cannot afford this kind of treatment on their own, and so they remain unwell.
Joseph acknowledges that it is not financially viable to hire certain specialists for the hospital, since there are not enough local patients requiring a particular service.
However, when residents fall ill and require specialized care, he believes that everything should be done to assist them, given that it is not possible to obtain those services here.
A concerned Joseph says that getting assistance to travel for treatment “should not have to be like a dentist pulling teeth.”
Given the difficulty in obtaining such help, family members often resort to fundraising activities to fund patients’ overseas travel and treatment. In other instances, friends and relatives in the diaspora facilitate specialized treatment through their own networks in the medical field.
Shortly after it assumed office in 2014, the Gaston Browne Administration took significant sums of money – reportedly $37 million – from the Medical Benefits Fund reserves.
Finance Minister Gaston Browne later admitted to the Opposition Leader that the money had not been repaid – and would not be repaid –since the withdrawals had been “a grant.”