The islands of Barbados are famous tourist destination. The tourism industry is one of the major industries here and represents nearly 25% of the gross domestic product. Nearly 1 million tourists visit the coasts of Barbados every year most of them from the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, and the Caribbean islands. Since the tourism prospects in Barbados are quite profitable, the government is taking due actions to expand the medical tourism industry as well. The expansion of medical tourism industry means increased revenue because of increased footfall of medical tourists.
Medical tourism prospects in the islands of Barbados
Medical tourism is one of the most profitable industries in Barbados. Proximity to North and South America has been the ideal set up for Barbados medical tourism as it gets the chunk of medical tourists from these regions. Its cultural affinity to the US market is also favorable for the medical tourism market.
This is realized by not just the government but also by the American World Clinics (AWC). This is the reason why AWC made a huge investment in construction of a 70-bed hospital to cater to the medical tourists in Barbados. A time-share model is suggested for the hiring of international surgeons on a part time basis. Recruitment of nurses, lab technicians, and other medical staff is also in process, along with the surgeons, for increasing the prospects of medical availability in Barbados.
Such projects have largely increased the measures of profitability due to increased medical tourism in Barbados. This expansion has also led to regulation of the medical tourism industry and enhanced policy framework. The government is also working to give a boost to the sector along with the private institutions that are making big investments.
Quality of Healthcare
Public healthcare expenditure of Barbados is more than any country of the Caribbean or the Central American region shows a 2017 report. With over 20 polyclinics, a dialysis center, and high-tech medical facilities that can handle major surgery and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Barbados has appeared on the world map as a prime medical tourism destination within the Caribbean.
In order to demonstrate its ability to maneuver international standards of care and quality, Barbados already has its first accredited facility in the region. This is a stepping-stone in the right direction for the island country as it demonstrates the desire of Barbados to grow as a medical tourism destination offering high quality care to foreign patients.
Medical facilities in Barbados
The islands of Barbados have been known to provide quality healthcare services to all citizens for long now. The region offers public health care system along with private health care centers that operate simultaneously. The private healthcare centers/clinics and institutions contribute to nearly seventy percent of the funding for improving the provisions of healthcare services. The public healthcare systems do not offer non-emergency services to non-Barbadians and other tourists. This is the main reason for such a high prevalence of the private sector in the healthcare industry.
Barbados Fertility Centre offers high quality treatments, majorly attracting international medical tourists. This centre has been functional since 2002, and since then it has been turning huge profits. The concept of providing treatment, along with enjoying the beach got this center huge success. The clinic in its very start was largely supported by government benefits, such as wavier of custom duties on medical equipments etc. This clinic has earned an accreditation from the Joint Commission international, the highest accrediting body of the world. Medical procedures like dialysis and open-heart surgery also draw foreign travelers who love to explore the natural wonders, miles of sandy beaches and breathtaking scenic views while undergoing treatments.
Barbados has the most advanced medical facilities, thanks to the 600-bed government owned Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the Bayview hospital and numerous other nursing homes, health centers and polyclinics. The Sandy Crest Clinic in St. James provides excellent accident and emergency medical services. A variety of wellness and health treatment options makes the small island of Barbados a popular medical tourism destination. Even though it is in its nascent stage, the medical tourism brings in loads of revenue and pushes the country forth to be a major player in the global healthcare sector.
However, there are other scopes for medical tourism investment in rehabilitation centers and full-capacity medical centers offering a range of surgical and non-surgical procedures. The salubrious environment further fosters quick patient recovery.
Positive response of the stakeholders
The government in Barbados is significantly adopting measures to increase the medical tourism facilities for international patients in Barbados. This has earned a positive response from most of the stakeholders. The stakeholders are positive about the potential growth of the medical tourism industry, which in turn leads to spurring of the economy through job creation and enhanced medical facilities.
One concern that the stakeholders have, is that of the shortage of human resources in the healthcare industry, especially that of trained nurses. The high level of migration of nurses from the nation has left Barbados with very few trained healthcare staff. The stakeholders have thus, suggested improvements in the health worker retention.
For this, training opportunities have to be provided. This is one way to cater to the increase in demand for the medical staff. In addition to this, the migration of the already trained staff has to be reduced, by enticing the workers to stay in Barbados through the provision of enhanced financial benefits.
Barbados islands have huge potentials for medical tourism industry to flourish. This is the reason for increased investments in healthcare sector. This is expected to boost the economy through increased revenues, by serving to increased influx international medical tourists.