(Trinidad Guardian) 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. 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 here.
“They have been coming here (non-nationals) for a long time. It creates an increased 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.” 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’s comments came after the death of 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. 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 our shores 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.”