Dutch-French St. Martin cooperation to boost healthcare service

POSTED: 02/12/16 5:23 PM

St. Maarten News – Last week Minister Emil Lee (Public Health) initiated a stepped up level of cooperation between the Dutch and French sides of the island with regards to health care. “As St. Maarten continues with its plans for the development of a new hospital, determining the level of cooperation between the Dutch and French sides is a critical element of our development strategy,” Minister Lee states.

Our hope is that instead of two independent hospitals, struggling to provide quality care in a sustainable manner, that we synchronize our strategies.”

A formal cooperation agreement has existed since 2014 and is known as the Observatory St. Maarten/St. Martin. As a result of this cooperation already funds from both sides of the island has been supplemented with substantial funding from the European Union in the creation of an ongoing study of the health of the people.

The ministry, in agreement with Dr. Louis Jeffrey and Mr. Arnaud Benet, is currently moving forward on new agreements that will further enhance health care on St. Maarten/St. Martin. Key to this will be using the total populations of both sides to make a solid economic basis for a higher level of local health care.

Areas for immediate review include; the sharing of specialists to expand the range of treatments available on the island, training of hospital staffs to synchronize levels of health care, the possibility to make services and space available to French residents in our planned expanded general hospital, and the development of complimentary non-competing services.

The head of the department of Public Health, Fenna Arnell is taking point for the ministry with active cooperation from SMMC-Director Kees Klarenbeek, and the SZV team to negotiate favorable tariffs for our residents to access care through our national health insurances.

I have committed myself to seeing the relationship strengthen and grow to the benefit of all,” Minister Lee said.

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