[www.inewsguyana.com] – Trinidad and Tobago Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan says the implementation of the National Health Card will clamp down on non-nationals seeking free medical attention at public health institutions.
The Health Minister was quoted in sections of the Trinidad media, following the death of a 35-year-old Guyanese national Jeetindra Sookram, who was denied medical attention at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex on Thursday because he was not a T&T citizen.
Sookram and his wife were on two week vacation in the Twin Island Republic when the incident occurred.
Khan said as far as he knows, the ministry has no policy in place that restricts free healthcare to non-nationals. In the coming weeks, Khan said, Government will roll out the cards, which would generate a policy that would allow medical services to only nationals and some non-nationals who work in Trinidad and Tobago.
“They have been coming here (non-nationals) for a long time. It creates an increase utilisation of the healthcare system. So that is why I am putting the health card in place so we could determine who are the beneficiaries for that system. But the emergency system will be a different thing. We can’t stop that…for people to get emergencies,” the Health Minister was quoted as saying.
Khan said the card would generate its own policy to treat with national and non-nationals.
“So if you don’t have a health card you cannot get in.”
Khan said the ministry would also put prices on the cost of medical procedures as well.
“If I am going for a national health insurance system, I must be able to cost my procedures. Our people would get it for free. Non-nationals would have to pay for it.”
Khan also advised visitors entering Trinidad to walk with their insurance.
“Maybe we should set up a policy that before you come into the country let us see your medical insurance. Medical insurance is not expensive.”
Guyana’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has made contact with the Trinidad government following the man’s death.
This is according to subject Minister, Carolyn Rodrigues – Birkett. When contacted on the issue, the Minister told iNews (www.inewsguyana.com) that “We have asked the Trinidadian Government for information on the matter and they have advised that an investigation is being conducted. The Honorary Consul will be meeting with the family as well.”