The Government has embarked on its one billion dollar programme to reduce waiting time within the public health system.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness on Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Caledonia Medical Laboratory to provide laboratory tests for several public hospitals.
Under the agreement, Caledonia Medical will provide microbiology services to the Kingston Public Hospital, Bustamante Hospital for Children, Victoria Jubilee Hospital, Spanish Town Hospital, National Chest Hospital, Princess Margaret Hospital and Linstead Hospital.
The tests include ear, eye, throat, nasal, urine and blood.
The $1 billion programme, which was announced by Health and Wellness Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton, during his Sectoral Presentation on May 7, is aimed at addressing delays in the provision of diagnostic tests, day and inpatient surgeries, and also shortage in bed space.
Caledonia Medical Laboratory is the first entity to sign on to the diagnostic aspect of the programme.
The minister said the Government is trying to eliminate the practice of sending public health patients to do diagnostic tests privately, at their expense.
Under the initiative, it is intended that Jamaicans who are examined in the public health system and approved for diagnostic tests will be given the tests free of charge, even if they have to get them done by an approved private provider.
These include CT scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, angiography, endoscopy as well as histopathology.