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Cayman Conversations: Have your say in Cayman’s health plan

Cayman Conversation 01 May, 2024 Follow News

Hon Sabrina T Turner MP

Felicia McLean

By Staff Writer

Health and Wellness Minister Sabrina Turner and newly appointed Chief Nursing Officer Felicia McLean spoke with Ralph Lewis in the latest Cayman Conversations about the publicity they are trying to drum up surrounding the public engagement period that will be taking place in May for the National Health Strategy and Plan. Information obtained from a wide variety of sources will go on to shape the new plan for health.

Minister Turner explained that the National Health Strategy and Plan will cover the Cayman Islands, setting the tone and pace for the country with regard to healthcare for the next ten years.

“We want to make sure we cover as many people as possible, getting as many people around the table as we plan this new strategic direction where healthcare is concerned, based on data,” she said.

Minister Turner said she was data driven and what was critical was where the data came from, in order to inform the government so they could make new policies and amend laws, hence the need to gather data from local sources.

“I felt it was imperative that we knew exactly what was happening on the ground in the Cayman Islands and that is why we have engaged the Pan American Health Organisation to help support this  development of this health strategy and plan for the Cayman Islands,” she explained.

The last time a national strategy for health was undertaken was in 2012 and was in place for the following five years. There has therefore been a gap of seven years with no healthcare plan in place and the previous plan did not include an operation plan, she advised, whereas the one the government was now working on will include one.

Entities with which the Ministry are communicating to glean information include the churches, public and private healthcare practitioners, government ministries and departments, NPOs and also health insurance companies. These were in addition to the general public.

Mrs McLean is the newly appointed Chief Nursing Officer in the Ministry of Health and Wellness and joined the Ministry with 26 years of experience in nursing, having qualified as a Licensed Practical Nurse at the then Cayman Islands Hospital (now the Health Services Authority) in 1997. As the Chief Nursing Officer for the Cayman Islands, Mrs McLean is responsible for providing guidance on professional nursing matters to the Minister for Health & Wellness, the Chief Officer, the Chief Medical Officer, and other government departments. The role provides strategic oversight for standards of nursing education, regulation, and practice across the three islands.

She said it was key that everyone in the Cayman Islands had their voices heard within this process and there would be several ways in which they could get involved. There would be key stakeholder groups within core ministries because they wanted to hear from entities such as the Department of Agriculture with regard to issues such as food sustainability, and the Department of Environment with regard to issues such as air quality.

“All those things tie into overall health and wellness,” she advised. “We want to hear from people in the community, in the districts: How easy is it for them to access healthcare?  How are their needs being met? Can they afford healthcare? Can they get there and when they do, what’s their patient experience like? We are also looking at the healthcare providers. So, from their standpoint, how easy is it for them to do their job?” she advised.

Mrs McLean said they were reaching out to different groups to obtain valuable information, such as  looking at faith-based organisation groups because they had a great network for getting certain tools out by which information will be collected (via a survey). They are also going to have town hall meetings and go to the Sister Islands

“We’ve grown so much in the last 10 to 20 years and now we need to ensure that our healthcare meets that need,” she said.

Minister Turner said that they were looking beyond the critique from comments and would look to take from people’s comments important information that could be used to create the strategy.

“It’s very important that we engage with everyone so that we can get the information in order to help us do this overarching guiding document for the Cayman Islands that will define, for the next ten years, with regard to health and the healthcare system,” she stated.

Minister Turner said that people should not be afraid to come forward with their thoughts.

“I don’t want anyone to feel that their voice is any less… Everyone is important and this is why the engaged and invited persons around the table is so vast,” she confirmed.

She alluded to the fact that this document was on a par with the Constitution in terms of importance for the people of the Cayman Islands.

Minister Turner said that they wanted to ensure that the new healthcare strategy and plan would cover people in the Cayman Islands from the cradle to the grave.

The official consultation period runs from 1st to 31st May, 2024.

Make your voice heard via What’s App on 9364969 or email mohfeedback@gov.ky

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