King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. *File photo by Kageaki Smith
King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. *File photo by Kageaki Smith

The budget for health and seniors has gone up, despite a commitment to prune public spending.

Finance Minister Bob Richards told MPs today that Health and Seniors Minister Patricia Pamplin-Gordon would have an extra $4.2 million in her kitty this year.

That means the health budget will go up from $195.2 million to almost $200 million.

Mr Richards said nearly three-quarters of the health budget was spent on the Bermuda Hospitals Board.

He added that $104 million would be allocated to patient subsidies for a special clinic for the young, indigent and aged and to provide support for the Continuing Care Unit at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.

Mr Richards said: “Since the closing of what was then called the indigent clinic at the hospital, there have been many among our most vulnerable populations who have been unable to access primary care.

“Instead, many of these Bermudians have either gone without care or they have gone to the Emergency Department. This situation is unpleasant for the people involved and it drives up costs for the entire healthcare system.

“The Ministry of Health and Seniors will address this by providing primary care services for those Bermudians who cannot afford health insurance.

“The Ministry will address their immediate care needs and will ensure that they have the appropriate treatment and support for any chronic conditions.”