The Public Health Committee met in Open and Closed Sessions on Wednesday, 6 December 2017.

The committee welcomed new Medical Officer, Dr Kamar Tanyan, visiting eye specialist, Dr Igor Tavcar, and Clinical Governance Lead, Joanne Ansell, to the Health Directorate. All are very experienced practitioners who have ‘hit the ground running’ and are already contributing their efforts to delivering enhanced services on-Island.

Chairman, Councillor Derek Thomas, updated the committee on his recent visit to the UK to attend the Joint Ministerial Conference (JMC). Together with other high priority areas, strong representations were made to Ministers in the UK about the state of healthcare delivery and the need for continued financial support to the Island. Ministers are reportedly delighted by the recent improvements in service delivery and outcomes and have pledged to visit the Island soon. Further details of the JMC visit will be discussed during an upcoming programme on local radio stations.

The committee received a progress update from the Director of Health, Dr Akeem Ali, on the strategic priorities set out in the Directorate Plan. Significant progress has been made in improving care for people with diabetes, maintaining access to healthcare on the Island, and the waiting list for overseas referral has been reduced. Nevertheless, the financial position remains challenging and will have an impact on what can be delivered on the Island or provided overseas.

Work continues to expand services on the Island including exploring the possibility of co-locating all primary care services – physiotherapy, occupational therapy, community nursing, outpatient clinics, and others, in one location with appropriate storage, accommodation, and car parking for staff and patients. A considerable amount of progress has been made in developing policies, protocols and guidelines for clinical services and management of patient feedback.

During the Closed Session, the committee discussed the impact of fees and charges on access to healthcare, particularly the impact of charges for medical services beyond prescription for pensioners on the Island. The committee has agreed to convene a special meeting before the Christmas break to further discuss this issue and to decide on further recommendations.

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11 December 2017

St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470