Employers Federation gives Sir Molwyn a deadline for appointing a board of directors for the MBS

Sir Molwyn Joseph, the minister of health, has been given a deadline
to appoint a board of directors for the Medical Benefits Scheme
(MBS) or face further action from the Employers Federation.

In a letter to Joseph dated November 6, 2023, the Federation
articulates the concern being voiced by workers, employers, and
patients alike: That the Scheme is operating without a “functioning
board” and, therefore, outside the ambit of the law.
Further, the Federation reminds Joseph that this breach had been
brought to his attention since September 19.

Not having received a response up to one month later, the body
reportedly passed a resolution at its Annual General Meeting, on
October 19, to write again and reiterate its concern about the
“unacceptable situation.”

According to the correspondence, in keeping with its fiduciary
responsibility, the Employers Federation had submitted the name of
its own nominee to the board since June 2023. Yet, to date, no
meeting has been convened, the letter says.

“We maintain that the MBS Board is necessary for the oversight of
the Scheme,” the Federation tells Sir Molwyn. Accordingly, it has
given him 14 working days “to immediately restore a sense of
normalcy to the operations of the scheme.”

The letter stops short of advising the minister what course of action
the organization will take, however.
But it is copied to Prime Minister Gaston Browne, the attorney-
general, the trade unions, and the media.

The Federation has a vested interest in the running of the
government corporation: Its members are mandated not only to
submit salary deductions to the Scheme on employees’ behalf, but to
match those contributions although at a higher percentage.

Meanwhile, REAL News reported, months ago, that insiders are
alleging that Sir Molwyn and the former chairman of the board –
whose tenure ended with the January 18 General Election – are, in
effect, making decisions on both the MBS’ financial operations and
applications for medical assistance – which are functions of the
board of directors.

At present, cancer patients are complaining that their requests to
the MBS for certain prescribed medications are being delayed “at
the board level” while they languish.

“They’re just stalling us,” one tells our Newsroom, “because they
know – and we know – there is no board. So our health and our lives
are up in the air while they play God.”

Meanwhile, another patient, who has been directed to Colombia for
treatment, says she believes that a functioning MBS board would
have been able to keep the Cancer Centre open for patients’ benefit.
She says she is “dreading” having to travel all the way to South
America, where she knows no one and does not understand the
language, for treatment that used to be available right here.

The Cancer Centre was closed mid-year after the majority
shareholder decided he could no longer continue running an
unprofitable operation.

However, one full year before it was shut down, Sir Molwyn and
Prime Minister Gaston Browne had been apprised of the operator’s