(CNS): The government does not have the resources or the information it needs to effectively manage the local healthcare system and the public cannot be assured that they are receiving quality health services or getting value for money for the tax payers’ dollars being spent. A new audit by the Office of the Auditor General, made public Monday, outlines a number of problems relating to government’s failure to properly implement its own plan, a lack of important information, regulatory shortcomings, staff shortages and inequalities.
“Without the resources and information needed to effectively manage the healthcare system, the government cannot provide assurance to legislators and the public that it delivers high quality healthcare and achieves value for money,” Auditor General Sue Winspear said in a press release accompanying the report.
The Public Accounts Committee is expected to review the report, “Ensuring Quality Health Care and a Healthy Population”, this week, when public servants will be asked about the findings. The decision by the audit office and the PAC to release the report just days before the hearings begin has left little time for the public to consume the findings and lobby their MLAs about the content before the committee meets Wednesday, despite the implications of the report for the community.
The audit found that health outcomes in Cayman seem to compare well with other jurisdictions but there are important differences between the health of expats and locals. As well as the work government needs to do to implement its own 2012 strategic plan for improving healthcare, there is a shortage of public information about how the system works and how government manages the approximately $138 million of public funds used to provide healthcare.
“When legislators are making policy decisions that affect approximately 18% of total government expenditure, I believe those decisions should be made with the full understanding of how they could impact the health of residents of the Cayman Islands,” said Winspear.
Accompanying the audit of the local healthcare system, the auditor has published an information report to provide the Legislative Assembly and the public with a better understanding of the system, as well as a survey of some healthcare providers.
The OAG raised concerns that the government had invested a great deal of effort in creating a plan for the health system, which was published in 2012. But having spent so much effort to identify what it needed to do, government should have made a better effort to plan for and implement the improvements. Despite government’s own conclusions that the plan would need to be monitored, not only has it not provided the resources needed to implement the plan properly, but there are no resources to monitor it either.
Category: Local News