(CMR) The Office of the Auditor General said the Cayman Islands Government has made limited progress in implementing recommendations made by the PAC regarding supporting those in need and ensuring quality healthcare.
In a report “Follow-up on past PAC recommendations 2021 – Report 1,” issued today by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG), it is revealed that Government has been slow to implement the recommendations in two reports from 2017 and 2015, respectively.
The report provides an update on the Government’s progress with implementing recommendations made by the PAC for the two reports that the OAG previously assessed as Red (limited progress) and Amber (some progress) in October 2018. The reports re-assessed are Government Programmes Supporting Those in Need (May 2015) and Ensuring Quality Healthcare and a Healthy Population (January 2017). This time, the OAG has assessed the Government’s progress with implementing the recommendations for both these reports as Red (limited progress).
“The Government’s progress with implementing recommendations made by the PAC on two reports covering the significant public services areas of healthcare and social assistance is very disappointing,” Auditor General Sue Winspear notes.
“The original recommendations made by my office date back to 2015 and 2017. The previous PAC held hearings on these two reports a number of times and issued its own reports with additional recommendations, the last being in April 2019. Very little has changed since then.”
Winspear continues, “In this review of progress on the healthcare recommendations, we find that Cayman still has no overarching strategy or policy for healthcare and a legislative framework that is outdated and deficient. As a result, Cayman’s health care system is not providing the best value to its people and practices for inspecting health care facilities, registering health care practitioners and developing Caymanian Doctors are still lacking.”
With regard to the Government’s welfare programs, Winspear says, “There is still no co-ordinated social assistance strategy, and so it is not clear if the most vulnerable in our society are being adequately supported, and it is likely that there continue to be inconsistencies in the eligibility criteria for accessing support and gaps and overlaps in provision. The Poor Persons (Relief) Law dates from 1997 and has still not been modernized to be fit for Cayman in 2021, despite assurances to the PAC in 2018 that this was under review.”
The early part of the report provides a status update on 15 PAC reports tabled in the Parliament between September 2018 and December 2020. The report shows that as of 22 February 2021, when Parliament was dissolved before the April 2021 election, the Government had tabled formal responses to 9 PAC reports, but only 3 of these responses were tabled within the 3-month timescale required by the Parliament’s Standing Orders. The Government had not responded to 5 PAC reports.
“It is disappointing that since my last report in 2018 on Government’s progress with implementing PAC recommendations, the Government has fallen significantly behind.“ Winspear continues. “Of the nine Government responses tabled, only three were done so within the required timescale, and the Government has not yet responded to five PAC reports, some dating back to 2018. Implementing PAC and my recommendation is not just a tick box exercise but something that can and should deliver real service improvements that will positively impact peoples’ lives.”
The OAG plans to prepare and publish a series of reports following up on past PAC recommendations during 2021. This report is the first in the series.