Healthcare in Saint Helena

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Healthcare in Saint Helena is provided by the Health Directorate on the British island of Saint Helena which has a staff of about 250.

Facilities[edit]

The directorate manages a small general hospital with 54 beds, a dispensary, a complex for care of the elderly, centres for the acute and chronically mentally infirm and the mentally and physically handicapped. There are several outpatient clinics, a pharmacy and laboratory, and dental care. There are six rural health clinics which are visited regularly by the doctors, dentist and community nurses.[1] The resident staff include a senior medical officer, three medical officers and a dentist with annual visits by an optometrist and ophthalmic surgeon.[2]

in 2006 the service had a portable x-ray machine, a Siemens ultrasound and a retinal camera. About 20 patients a year are referred, usually to Cape Town, for scans.[3]

If necessary, serious or complex cases are transferred to South Africa or the United Kingdom.[4]

Charges[edit]

Charges are payable for treatment. Costs for primary care for the local population, and emergency treatment for UK residents are modest, and rise to a maximum of £183.95 (2016 scale) for surgery. For visitors and non residents they are much more substantial, with a maximum of £2880.20 (2014 scale) for surgery. Comprehensive medical insurance is compulsory for visitors and non-residents.

Expenditure[edit]

The British Government’s Department for International Development provides support and advice to the St Helena government and produced a report on Cost-effective Delivery of Specialist Medical Services to the St. Helena Population in 2006. The report showed that expenditure on health had risen from £1,154,675 in 1993/4 to £2,050,830 in 2000/1, but was still less than 50% of the level spent on health care in the UK. Between 2000 and 2006 cancer was the most costly diagnosis in terms of referral to services off the island (45% of total cost) followed by cardiology (13%), spinal (10%), urology (8%) and orthopaedic diagnoses (8%). These 5 diagnoses accounted for 84% of the total referral cost.

The total referral cost increased by a factor of 4 between 2004 and 2005. 106 referrals were expected in 2006 where the average for earlier years was about 35. Between 2000 and 2004 the average cost of a referral was £4,000 but in 2005 it was over £12,000. The average age of patients referred also increased from 35 to 56.[5]

Health[edit]

Life expectancy is 3-3.5 years less than the United Kingdom. The Infant Mortality Rate has been reduced from 44.7 per thousand live births in 1981 to 3.9 in 2000/1.

Income inequality on the island is modest. The highest salary is 4.6 times that of the lowest paid person in full-time employment.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Useful info". St Helena Tourism. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  2. ^ "Healthcare". Enterprise St Helena. Enterprise St Helena. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
  3. ^ Nielsen, Lasse Christian (September 2006). "St. Helena Cost-effective Delivery of Specialist Medical Services to the St. Helena Population - Review of Options - Draft Recommendations" (PDF). Heart Resources. DFID Health Resource Centre. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  4. ^ "Health Directorate". St Helena Government. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  5. ^ Nielsen, Lasse Christian (September 2006). "St. Helena Cost-effective Delivery of Specialist Medical Services to the St. Helena Population - Review of Options - Draft Recommendations" (PDF). Heart Resources. DFID Health Resource Centre. Retrieved 28 December 2016.