The Public Entity Saba (OLS) and a delegation from the ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) held discussions about medical referrals on the 17 th of November. During this meeting, OLS was able to share its concerns with
Deputy Secretary General Abigail Norville from VWS.
VWS takes these concerns seriously. The first new agreements were made in May of this year. The main agreement involved the pilot for direct referrals to Sint Maarten Medical Center (SMMC). This means ZJCN no longer needs to
provide prior consent for medical referrals. This process is now expected to faster and less bureaucratic. The pilot started on Monday, the 21 st of November.
OLS is worried about the process for medical referrals, namely that it takes too long to get an appointment with a specialist. If patients have the impression that things have not been arranged properly or are taking too long, they can submit a complaint via the regular complaints procedure of ZJCN. OLS would also like to address the issue of patient transport by plane during medical referrals. For example, they think the aeroplane is too small, which causes people to feel unsafe.
The meeting was constructive, and VWS said that it would examine the possibilities for deploying Winair more often when transporting patients. State Secretary van Ooijen intends to visit Saba in December, and will take this opportunity to discuss how improvements are progressing.