Covid-19 budget shrinks as healthcare system heads for upheaval – The Royal Gazette

Created: March 04, 2022 09:41

Kim Wilson, Minister of Health (file photo)

More than $7 million will be allocated for Covid-19 pandemic response work over the next fiscal year, the Minister of Health announced yesterday.

Kim Wilson said the funding would also support the Molecular Diagnostics and Research Laboratory, currently administered by the Cabinet Office.

She added, “From April 1, MDL will come under the Ministry of Health, which already runs the government’s Central Laboratory.”

Ms Wilson said: ‘The pandemic is not yet over, but changes to our border policies, largely enabled by good vaccination rates, both in Bermuda and in our gateway cities, should reduce pressure on the system. our island’s health and enable efficiency gains in management. of our response.

“These planned efficiencies are reflected in the reduced budget for the pandemic response.”

Ms Wilson added that the Department of Health had “a very busy year ahead” with the launch of a plan to transform healthcare delivery.

She said: “We look forward to working with the wider Bermuda community to make this a success.”

The budget book showed more than $7.7 million had been budgeted for the national health emergency for 2022-23, compared to a revised figure of $13.9 million for 2021-22.

David Burt, the Prime Minister, said earlier that the MDL came under the Cabinet Office ‘because that’s the place we thought was best suited’.

He added in January: “The Ministry of Health was doing a lot of other things during the management of the pandemic. It is one government and it has worked remarkably well.

Ms Wilson said: ‘The department already has an established laboratory.

“As the Prime Minister indicated several weeks ago … at the time the department was very overwhelmed with the management of things with Covid and related to Covid.

‘At the time it was decided that the MDL laboratory would come under the auspices of the Cabinet Office.’

Ms Wilson said the Department of Health’s budget for 2022-23 was $194.5 million, including about $147 million for King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute.

She added that revenue for the next fiscal year is expected to be $25.7 million, most of which will come from Covid-19 travel authorization fees.

The budget book showed that technical assistance fees, introduced after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, were expected to yield $22 million in 2022-23, an increase of $8 million from the revised figure for 2021-22.

But Ms Wilson confirmed there would be no fees for forms from April 1 next year.

Ms Wilson said the administration wanted to create a healthier population.

She added: “The Government’s support for a healthier Bermuda is reflected in its commitment to Universal Health Coverage and for this there is an allocation in the Department of Health Headquarters Budget in the amount of $750,000 for consultants and thus an allocation in the Department of Health budget of $323,456 for health promotion resources.

She added that the Bermuda Health Strategy 2022-2027 provided “the strategic principles that the department will follow in carrying out this key Speech from the Throne initiative”.

Ms Wilson said year one work would begin with putting in place a “transitional governance structure” needed for healthcare transformation.

She explained, “This will include creating new working groups for stewardship and collaboration.

“A key part of this is the project management office that is needed to drive change.

“This year, the ministry will also work with our partners on several simultaneous lines of work.

“We will develop and pilot integrated essential care pathways, working with stakeholders to determine which patient pathways to pilot.

“The ministry will also establish the necessary baseline of our current health status, which means updating our health accounts and determining the health needs of our population.

“In parallel, we can begin to identify and prioritize efficiency and cost reduction projects across the healthcare system.”

Ms Wilson stressed that a national digital health strategy was part of working to achieve efficiencies by leveraging technology to bring government health plans together.

She added: “This is an island-wide effort to create a more efficient, value-driven healthcare system where our residents enjoy better health outcomes.

“It starts with each of us doing what we can to live a healthier life.

“Living healthier reduces the burden on Bermuda’s healthcare system and produces economic benefits. »

MPs are due to debate the health budget next Monday.

*To read the budget statement, click on the PDF under “Related Media”.

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