By Nigel Ash
Tripoli, 4 May 2013:
A radical overhaul of the “inefficient” and “conflicted” Libyan health system, to restyle it along American . . .[restrict]lines is proposed in a new report.
The Libyan Healthcare Society USA has argued that a significant degree of responsibility for health be taken away from the Ministry of Health and handed to professional medical associations and individual hospital managements.
“The existing system gives the Ministry of Health full authority to deliver, regulate, and finance healthcare” noted the report, “From our perspective, this clustering of responsibilities and authorities is a fundamental defect that leads to the conflict of roles and inefficiency, as well as compromises in the quality of health services”.
The document goes on to argue that many of the ministry’s tasks be reassigned to professional, regulatory organisations. These would include professional licensing boards to which all medical professionals would be accountable; training, accreditation and certification boards to set scientific and academic standards and professional associations to represent the interests of medical practitioners and uphold standards.
All such bodies would be independent of the health ministry, whose job would simply be to oversee and finance the healthcare system.
The ministry would play no role in these organisations . “Their members should be elected by professionals based on competence and integrity. This” argued the report, “assures the consistency and continuity of the long-term healthcare policies, regardless of the changes in the ministry.
The ministry would allocate budgets for hospitals and other healthcare facilities on the basis of services delivered.
The government would however retain ultimate control of the new Libyan health service through a supreme national authority under its aegis, which would set quality and safety standards for both public and private healthcare nationwide, which this authority would then monitor and implement.
This body, suggested the report:“ should be responsible for providing licenses for public and private healthcare facilities. It should submit its reports directly to the ministry, so that any health institution in violation of safety or quality standards can be followed and monitored”.
The study goes on to suggest that as a preliminary step, local hospitals could enter into contracts, for a specified period, “with reputable international hospitals to pair them managerially and procedurally in order to raise the level of these facilities at a faster pace”.