Government of National Unity plans to establish cancer treatment facility

Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 14, 2015 (SKNIS)—Minister of Health, Honourable Eugene Hamilton, has said that the Government is working hard in this Budget cycle for St. Kitts and Nevis to develop an oncology unit to provide treatment to patients in the country and support the treatment offered by the cancer treatment center in Antigua and Barbuda.

Mr. Hamilton, speaking on the Government’s radio programme “Working for You” pointed out that there have been an alarming number of deaths and cancer-related illnesses in St. Kitts and many people cannot afford the treatment. But with an oncology unit in St. Kitts, this would assist in providing affordable treatment with additional support from the cancer treatment center in Antigua and Barbuda.

“Health has got to be reformed so that every person, no matter their status, must be able to access health care in this nation or even abroad. That is why the OECS (Organization of Eastern Caribbean States) has supported Antigua with a new cancer center there,” Hamilton said. “More and more we are seeing our people with cancers and kidney disease and so on,” he added. He argued that with the cancer facility in Antigua and Barbuda and the supporting oncology unit in St. Kitts, the cost of cancer treatment could decrease.

Meanwhile, the health minister has argued that his ministry will ensure that health care reforms will reflect a fairer share of revenue to the JNF Hospital. He said that currently health care practitioners are earning more than the hospital and while doctors are worth their pay, the institution must also receive a fair share of the revenues.

With the proposed National Health Care Scheme, the minister said the Government will ensure that the JNF Hospital receives its due. He said he wants the National Health Insurance Scheme to come on stream in 2016, but only after extensive consultation with the people in sessions to be held around the country.

“I’m going to put a team of people out there to consult throughout the entire country to see what the country thinks that they need and what they are able to support, whether financially or otherwise. A decision will come with its implementation when the country speaks, not when Eugene Hamilton speaks but I want to make sure it happens in 2016,” he said.

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