CDAP to be reviewed, not cut

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CDAP to be reviewed, not cut

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley reiterated during a post-Cabinet media briefing on Thursday that the government has no intention of cutting the Chronic Disease Assistance Programme (CDAP).

However he said the programme, which provides state-funded medication to taxpayers ailing from certain chronic diseases will be reviewed.

He said:”It was raised by the Minister of Finance as a statement of fact about the large and growing allocation that we are spending in the health sector. All of us have an interest in health and the healthcare delivery. The Ministry of Finance pointed out how our healthcare expenses have grown exponentially.

“We have increased the breadth of the infrastructure in the country, everytime you build a hospital or a health centre you automatically increase the budget because you’re providing more healthcare…and secondly there have been increases in costs in providing higher quality medicine and sometimes there may be leakages in costs and corruption.

“Compare the older budgets to this budget…in older budgets the healthcare was one billion…22 years ago…today we’re spending 7.5 billion.

“Some of those medications are extremely expensive…cancer care…we spend priority, hundreds of millions of dollars. When we could have afforded it, CDAP grew from 35 million to 400 million, fact undisputed. We are now in a situation where affordability is in front of us as a matter of concern.”

Dr Rowley said the government will continue to run the programme based on what it can afford.

“We’re on a relatively even keel now but there are challenges all around…we’re having difficulty maintaining $400 million but that does not mean that we will abandon the policy of providing medication to people. We can take the decision to provide what is affordable, and I said if $200 million is affordable or $300 million, we will still have that as a CDAP programme.”

During a mid-year review of the budget in Parliament last week, Finance Minister Colm Imbert said it was “proving quite difficult” to finance the “free” services offered via the Health Ministry after it was revealed that $392 million was outstanding to Nipdec, which supplies the CDAP and other healthcare programmes.