New rules in Seychelles improve transparency, speed for overseas health care cases
President Danny Faure signed the Overseas Treatment Act, 2018 on Monday. (Seychelles Nation)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Legislation to fast-track decisions on who is eligible for government-funded treatment in other countries is now in force after the President of Seychelles, Danny Faure, signed the Overseas Treatment Act, said State House on Monday.
According to the Minister of Health, Jean-Paul Adam, the new legislation highlights the way in which any citizen of Seychelles can have access to overseas treatment.
“It outlines the procedures which the specialists within the Seychelles hospital can refer somebody for overseas treatment and it also speaks of the rights of the citizen in relation to accessing that treatment,” said Adam in his address at the ceremony at State House.
Adam added that although more and more specialised treatment is being done locally there remains certain procedures by specialists that are not available in Seychelles. It is for that reason that the Ministry of Health is continuing to support a programme of sending patients overseas when necessary.
The government of Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, is currently sending over 200 patients per year for specialised overseas treatment not provided in the island nation.
With the aim of making the procedures more transparent, a bill proposed by the Ministry of Health was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers in March and approved by the National Assembly last month.
“This Act put in very clear terms many of the procedures already in place and therefore in line with the President’s calling for us to put more emphasis on transparency and good governance. This Act highlights the way in which any citizen in our country can have access to overseas treatment,” said Adam.
The management of overseas treatment will be undertaken by the Overseas Diagnosis and Treatment Unit, established within the Health Care Agency.
In the past, there were several concerns and questions raised about what the procedures were especially from patients seeing private specialists.
The health minister said that the new legislation will address concerns in terms of citizens who feel that their situation has not been adequately catered for within the public health system and whereby they seek the second opinion, either in the private sector or overseas.
“The private sector specialists can also refer through a specialist within the Seychelles hospital to the Overseas Diagnosis and Treatment Board. Alternatively if a person seeks their own treatment overseas, they may seek refund, if they meet the criteria to do so and those criteria include if a person has fallen ill overseas in a manner that could not have been foretold and that needed urgent treatment or if a person sought a second opinion and diagnosed with a disease which was not diagnosed in Seychelles but also needed immediate treatment,” he added.
The new Act also establishes an Appeals Committee which will comprise of a chairperson and two other members who are specialists working in the Seychelles Hospitals.
Minister Adam said the Act makes it clear as to what is the methodology that somebody will follow if they feel aggrieved by the process.”
The Overseas Diagnosis and Treatment Board will consist of a chairperson, deputy chairperson and five other members.