Saba and VWS discuss improvement in medical referrals abroad

Many patients find the BN ‘Islander’ used for medical referrals too small and scary. Photo: Harald Linkels

ORANJESTAD- The Public Entity Saba (OLS) and a delegation from the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) held consultations on 17 November about the medical broadcasts. During the conversation, OLS shared its concerns with plv. Secretary-General Abigail Norville of VWS.

VWS says it takes Saba’s concerns seriously. The first new agreements were made in May of this year. The most important agreement is the pilot direct referrals to Sint Maarten Medical Center (SMMC). This means that ZJCN no longer needs to give prior permission for a broadcast. The expectation is that this will speed up the process and be less bureaucratic. The pilot started on Monday 21 November.

OLS is concerned about the process of medical referrals and that it takes too much time to get an appointment with a specialist. OLS also draws attention to patient transport by air during medical referrals. For example, people think the plane is too small and therefore do not always feel safe.


According to parties, the conversation was constructive, with VWS indicating that it is investigating the possibilities of using Winair more for patient transport. State Secretary van Ooijen intends to visit Saba in December, where he will discuss the progress of the improvements.

Strangely enough, while the conversation between Saba and St. Eustatius took place on St. Eustatius, the latter was not included in the talks between Saba and VWS, while they have similar complaints.

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