Given the issues that confront Northern Ireland it’s good to see that our politicians are really getting to grips with the BIG ISSUES. Yes, they are off…..to Cuba!
A Stormont Committee is aiming to find a new way to improve efficiency in the health service — by flying a team of MLAs and an official across the Atlantic. The group will travel to the Caribbean in December on a fact-finding mission to observe Cuba’s healthcare system — at a cost of £6,000.
Originally the committee had discussed sending all 11 members, or a member from each party, but has now decided against it. Among those travelling to the four-day conference in Havana will be the chair of the Assembly’s health committee Sue Ramsey and deputy chair Jim Wells.
Yes, CUBA. It provides world class healthcare, you know that, yes. Well, all is not QUITE as some pretend.
“To be sure, there is excellent health care on Cuba — just not for ordinary Cubans. Dr. Jaime Suchlicki of the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies explains that there is not just one system, or even two: There are three. The first is for foreigners who come to Cuba specifically for medical care. This is known as “medical tourism.” The tourists pay in hard currency, which provides oxygen to the regime. And the facilities in which they are treated are First World: clean, well supplied, state-of-the-art.
The foreigners-only facilities do a big business in what you might call vanity treatments: Botox, liposuction, and breast implants. Remember, too, that there are many separate, or segregated, facilities on Cuba. People speak of “tourism apartheid.” For example, there are separate hotels, separate beaches, separate restaurants — separate everything. As you can well imagine, this causes widespread resentment in the general population.
The second health-care system is for Cuban elites — the Party, the military, official artists and writers, and so on. In the Soviet Union, these people were called the “nomenklatura.” And their system, like the one for medical tourists, is top-notch.
Then there is the real Cuban system, the one that ordinary people must use — and it is wretched. Testimony and documentation on the subject are vast. Hospitals and clinics are crumbling. Conditions are so unsanitary, patients may be better off at home, whatever home is. If they do have to go to the hospital, they must bring their own bedsheets, soap, towels, food, light bulbs — even toilet paper.”
What can a totalitarian regime really learn —- from Cuba?