Free Healthcare? Views Of Medical Professionals And Patients

Views of Medical Professionals v Patients
Click to enlarge. Source: CaPRI

Should Jamaica have free healthcare in public facilities?  CaPRI’s 2013 study “Fee or Free? A Survey of the No-User Fees in Public Hospitals In Jamaica” provides insight into the perceptions of medical professionals* and patients on this issue. The findings included:

  • As depicted on the graph above, most medical professionals surveyed did not support prioritized government input and cost removal for users in public healthcare.
  • On the contrary, the majority of public healthcare users supported government input in the provision and financing of public healthcare and the removal of user-fees.
  • The ‘only those who can afford to pay should’ policy gained majority approval of both medical professionals and patients.
  • Patients agreed overwhelmingly that the disabled, the elderly, and children ought to receive free healthcare, while the majority of medical professionals did not agree that any of these groups should. See graph below for the breakdown.
Agreement with Free Care Medical Professionals v Patients
Click to enlarge. Source: CaPRI
  • As to the impact of the no-user fee policy, 68% of patients reported an increase in wait time after the implementation of this policy, but only 35% found that consultation time with doctors was diminished.

What is your view of the topics explored in this study? Should medication be free, should hospitals not have user-fees, and should some groups be granted free healthcare universally? Read the full survey here, and weigh in the comments to let us know your thoughts. More on the health sector in Jamaica can be found here.

*The medical professionals surveyed by CaPRI were doctors and nurses