“I have called this press conference today to advise the public of administrative changes within the Ministry of Health – namely the moving of programs from the Department of Health to the National Office for Seniors and Physically Challenged,” said Minister of Health Zane DeSilva.
“Over recent years there have been several strategic reviews of the operation and functions of the Department of Health.
“Consequently, it has been accepted that there are too many programs under the direct responsibility of the Chief Medical Officer. In addition, it is considered best practice that service providers – in this case ‘the Department of Health’ – not also function as regulators.
“In 2008 and 2009 efforts were made to transfer the developmental disabilities programs within the Department of Health to the Bermuda Hospitals Board.
“However, this initiative was placed on hold due, in part, to the differences in compensation packages and collective bargaining agreements.
“There are several reasons, in the Ministry’s opinion, why the National Office for Seniors and Physically Challenged (NOSPC) is the most appropriate choice to takeover developmental disabilities programs…
“Firstly, NOSPC currently provides the Ministry with critical advice on strategic direction, policies and programs associated with seniors and persons with disabilities.
“Secondly, work is already underway at NOSPC to implement some of the recommendations from the 2010 Report on the Developmental Disabilities, which highlighted possible areas of improvement in terms of service for those with disabilities.
“And, thirdly, NOSPC is at present facilitating conversations between myself and The Long Term Care Task Group regarding Goal 7 of the National Health Plan, which is to, “implement strategies to meet the healthcare needs of people with chronic illnesses and physical, cognitive or mental disabilities.”
“It is therefore considered appropriate to place developmental disabilities programs (the Orange Valley Centre and Opportunity Work Shop) within the administration of that Office.
“As a result of this administrative change, there will be no immediate changes to staffing levels or budget, and the collective bargaining agreement will be the same as it is presently. There will be no change to the Ministry’s total budget – just a moving of cost centres.
“In the long term, however, we anticipate improved coordination and utilization of staff and services which should reduce our cost per client. The change will take place on July 1st, 2012.
“We are making this administrative change now, as it fits in well with changes taking place within the Department of Health, as they continue to recruit for a new Chief Medical Officer,” concluded Minister DeSilva.
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