Public Health Committee Meeting – Wednesday, 5 August 2020

The Public Health Committee (PHC) met on Wednesday, 5 August 2020.

Staff recruited as part of the Island’s COVID-19 preparedness were welcomed to the meeting, introduced to Committee and invited to give an overview of their backgrounds and roles on St Helena. The Chairman advised that whilst the Island remained COVID free, it was reassuring to have additional clinical support. All were subsequently thanked for their attendance and wished well in their roles.

Progress updates on Health & Safety, design and cost-related work for the Primary Care Facility at Sundale, introduction of a National Health Insurance Scheme, amendment to the Mental Health & Mental Capacity Ordinance, and construction of a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), were given under Matters Arising.

The need to address disparity between expatriate workers employed by the Private and Public Sectors on payment of Medical Fees & Charges at visitor and local rates respectively, had been the subject of ongoing discussion. The Committee therefore agreed that such workers under both these Sectors, would be eligible to pay Medical Fees & Charges at local rates with effect from 1 September 2020. It was agreed this arrangement be reviewed on a six-monthly basis.

Drafting instructions to evoke supporting Regulations to support the Tobacco Control Ordinance were presented and discussed at length. It was agreed a proposal for fixed penalty fines would be drafted in liaison with the Police Directorate, for presentation to Committee at the next scheduled meeting.

The Health Promotion & Social Marketing Lead (HP&SML) talked the Committee through the content of a Discussion Paper relating to Duty on Fruit Juices. It was agreed there was need for the public to be educated on the sugar content of various products, moving forward. A radio interview on sugar tax and the reasons for this was therefore considered advantageous and would be facilitated by the HP&SML. The tax-related work being undertaken in liaison with the Economic Development Committee (EDC) and HM Customs, to aid formulation of a comprehensive paper for presentation to Committee in due course, was noted. The aim of this document would essentially be to evoke tax-related change in an informed manner. The Public Health Committee supported this work.

On the subject of Driver’s Licences for Over 70s, the Committee noted the ongoing review of the Road Traffic Regulations and relevant forms; and subsequent request from the Highways Authority for assistance in streamlining forms pertaining to the Application for Driver’s Licences, from a ‘medical’ perspective. The Senior Medical Officer undertook to arrange this with a view to providing feedback and revised forms at the PHC meeting to be held in October 2020.


20 August 2020

St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470