The AHA was set up as a result of a 2002 study, the Health Systems Profile of Anguilla. Its function and purpose was described this way, “It is intended for the authority to be a decentralized model to deliver health care to the population. With the introduction of the Anguilla Health Authority, it is envisaged that there will be the most productive use of resources and a more timely response to the overall requirements of Health Services.”
A number of press releases and well-publicised public events preceded the introduction of the AHA. It would appear that great care was taken to keep the public informed of government’s intentions and plans.
The Authority is a statutory corporation. It was established by the Health Authority Act.
The organizational relationship between the Ministry of Health and the AHA has been described in this way:
The Ministry of Health will:
* focus on national policy formulation, regulations, setting standards, monitoring and enforcement;
* ensure that a national strategic plan is developed;
* ensure the enforcement of the Environmental Health Act;
* ‘purchase’ services from the Health Authority.
The Anguilla Health Authority:
* is a corporate body which will be responsible for all operational matters that promote and protect the health of persons;
* will also:
* provide integrated health services;
* operate, maintain, equip and extend facilities;
* ensure reasonable access to quality health services is provided to the public;
* routinely assess the needs for ‘personal care’ of persons
The Health Authority does not have its own website, and the government’s official site has very little on it. That makes it difficult to discover anything about the budget or governance of the Authority online. That said, someone, somewhere, is obviously impressed with its work. The government website contains a recent press release about the AHA receiving some sort of unexplained accreditation. Strangely, there is no indication of what institution did the accreditation, or what the award means in relation to our health services in
Inquiries made directly to Mr Dexter James reveals that its Board of Directors was appointed by the Minister of Health on January 1st, 2004 and in 2005. Three of the seven members' terms have come to an end, and the Minister has not filled the resulting vacancies. The current members are:
Dr. Phyllis Fleming Banks Chairperson
Mr. Fabian Proctor Deputy Chairperson
Ms Vernette Richardson Member
Mr. John Gumbs Member
They are paid a monthly allowance as follows:
Chairperson: EC $1,000.00
Deputy Chairperson: EC $850.00
Members: EC $650.00
These rates have been approved by the Governor in Council in 2004. It seems very little compensation for such an important activity as running our national health system. I wonder why have the three retired Board members have not been replaced? Surely, it would help to spread the load to have a full Board in place.
In addition, the Board has 4-standing Committees for which the Chairpersons and Deputy Chairpersons/members are each paid a monthly allowance of EC $400.00 and EC $300 respectively.
The Authority’s Budget for fiscal year 2007 in round figures is $20,700,000.00. That is an increase of 10% from the un-revised 2006 Budget of $18,800,000
In the event that any dispute should arise among staff, the authority has put in place a Dispute Resolution and Grievance Committee. Its members are Colville Petty OBE Chairman; Susan Harrigan, Carlton Pickering, Pastor Philip Gumbs, and Don Mitchell CBE QC members, and Denise Romney as secretary. The Chairperson and other members are paid a monthly allowance of EC$150.00 and EC100.00 respectively. In the event the Committee has to address substantive matters, the monthly allowance payable to the Chairperson and other members will be EC$300.00.
We all hope the AHA will grow in strength and that the undoubted improvement in health services since its inception will continue. Keep it up, Phyllis and company!