Guide to Medical Tourism in Barbados and Caribbean – Facts, Trends, News, Services, Research, Business and Updates by Dr Prem

Medical Tourism in Barbados and Caribbean

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.

In this medical tourism guide you will read about:

Guide to Medical Tourism in Barbados and Caribbean – Facts, Trends, News, Services, Research, Business and Updates by Dr Prem

General information about Barbados

Language English, Bajan

 

Time Zone Eastern Caribbean (GMT-4)

 

Dialing Code +1 -246

 

Electricity 115V, 50Hz

 

Major Cities Bridgetown, Speightstown, Oistins, Bathsheba
Currency Barbadian Dollar

 

Clothing Shorts, light clothing for the warm tropical island temperaturesclothing.

Health Related

Mortality Rate 11.63 deaths/ 1,000 live births
Life Expectancy 74.6M / 80.4F
Hospitals JCI accredited JCI accredited 1

 

Recommended    Vaccinations Hepatitis A, Yellow fever, Hepatitis B, MMR, Diphtheria-tetanus
Other Infections Dengue fever, Leptospirosis, HIV

 

 

Tourism in Barbados

Population 274,200

 

Reliability of Police Services 24/140
Global Competitiveness 5.09/7

 

Physician Density 65/140

 

Tourism Competitiveness 4.84/7

 

Hospital Beds 12/140
GDP/Capita 25,372 Quality of Air Transport Infrastructure 8/140
Health and Hygiene 6.0/7 International  Air  Transport  Network 16/140
Safety and Security 5.5/7 Quality of Roads 33/140
Air Transport Infrastructure 4.4/7 Hotel Rooms 7/140
Tourism Infrastructure 5.6/7 Tourism Openness 4/140
Cultural Infrastructure 3.0/7 Attitude  of  Population  Towards Foreign Visitors 11/140
Visa Requirements 6/140

The country

Aerial view of Barbados

Despite its small size, Barbados offers plenty to travelers who love exploring frothy beachfronts, playing with sand and paragliding over the sea waves. In recent years, Barbados has emerged on the tourism scene as it successfully blended the tenets of medical tourism and wellness tourism with the niche travel business. The island country is an exciting place to be at, especially since a nice stay here combines vacations with several health benefits. Thanks to white sand beaches and stunning blue waters, it won’t be an exaggeration to call this destination a tiny paradise.

However, if you think Barbados simply offers just some beaches and beach activities, you definitely need a reality check. Aside from flaunting unbelievable beach beauty, the country also lures visitors with diverse flavors, cultures, tourist destinations and festivals. Also known as the Atlantic Island, Barbados is one of the Caribbean’s leading tourist destinations and the most developed islands in the region. Medical tourism facilitator companies should start considering this beautiful destination for health and wellness tourism.

Location

Windward Islands

As mentioned in the beginner, Barbados is a small country with 431 sq km area. Strategically located to the east of the Caribbean Sea and the Windward Islands, and the west of the North Atlantic, the island country does not have to suffer the wrath of the principal Atlantic hurricane even during the hyperactive period (1400 BCE to 1000 CE).

People in Barbados

group with yellow costumes in the Barbados kids kadooment

Barbados is home to around 300,000 people, who primarily are of Afro-bajan, Asian, multiracial or European origin. Ever since Barbados gained independence from the British rule in 1966, the lifestyle of native inhabitants has been on a constant rise. The post-independence era also led to better cultural changes within the country. Exhibiting the Caribbean way of life, Barbadian are jovial and fun loving people who enjoy gathering around to celebrate various occasions and festivities around the year.

Events

A group of kids dressed in beautiful butterfly costumes getting ready to start the procession in the annual kids kadooment (kids carnival) in Barbados.

Rightly known as the Caribbean’s cultural capital, Barbados is famous for hosting several events and festivals. Be it the annual Barbados Crop Over, the Barbados Jazz Festival, Holetown Festival, Holder’s Season, Oistins Fish Festival or the Gospelfest, one cannot afford to miss any of these festivals and events.

If you plan to travel Barbados in November, do not forget to be a part of the Barbados Independence Day festivities and the Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival. Therefore, you can expect parties or festive celebrations going on throughout the year. Medical tourism facilitator groups may promote Barbados to their health tourists who seek to have fun while undergoing wellness and health treatments.

Weather

Young Caucasian man on surfing vacation in picturesque Barbados sits on his surfboard and watches the sunset

Being outside the principal hurricane strike zone, the country is comparatively safer than the other Caribbean countries. The average temperature ranges from 21 to 31°C (70 to 88 °F) from December to May (the dry season); however, between June and November, i.e. the wet season, it ranges from 23 to 31 °C (73 to 88 °F). While Barbadians experience higher rainfall during the wet season, the dry season has comparatively less rainfall. The flowing trade winds bring steady breeze to the mainland, which helps in lowering the temperature to a considerable extent.

Healthcare System in Barbados

Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Barbados operates a system of nationalized healthcare, similar to other nations within the Commonwealth of Nations. Including the Queen Elizabeth Hospital aka General Hospital, Bridgetown, Barbados has more than 20 polyclinics that provide exceptional healthcare to millions of Barbadians.

Subsequent to the Memorandum of Understanding, which the Government of Barbados signed in 2011, now the Denver, Colorado based America World Clinics has acquired the 22-acre Saint Joseph Hospital. The deal further implies that the American leasers will explore the possibilities for medical tourism in Barbados.

The Government of Barbados also intends to replace the QEH with a new $800 million high-tech hospital. The new hospital would allow Barbadians and other medical travelers to access a superb healthcare system.

Quality of Healthcare

Hemodialysis machine with a patient

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 Tourism in Barbados

The Bayview hospital Barbados faclilities

Image Source : bayviewhospital.com.bb

Medical tourists from all over the world visit Barbados for medical procedures like dialysis and open-heart surgery. Aside from getting the desired medical treatment, medical tourists can have their opportunity to explore the natural wonders, miles of sandy beaches and breathtaking scenic views. 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.

Expanding treatments to include cosmetic and plastic surgery in high end wellness centers and spas, involving doctors, and standalone foreign operated and owned hospitals and clinics have been identified as some of the potential factors that can establish medical tourism business firmly in Barbados.

Medical tourism prospects in the islands of Barbados

busy hospital

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.

With the help of medical tourism marketing, the country can attract medical travelers to experience its healthcare as well as wellness options. It already has a reputation of being the number one in traveler satisfaction, according to 2017 Destination Satisfaction Index, DSI, as researched by Norsat. Its rejuvenating sea breezes, fresh air and joyful sunshine was recognised by a young George Washington who came to Barbados with his brother for treatment.

The government has set up a special task force which would be responsible for the development of medical and wellness tourism. As safety is one of the major concerns of travelers, Barbados offers a safe and comfortable environment to foreign patients.

Barbados is the highest spender on healthcare among the Caribbean as well as Central American countries. The result is the internationally reputed Barbados Fertility Clinic as well as 4H Hospital, a wellness center offering high quality care to medical tourists. The country has established six offshore medical colleges, attracting students from India, Nigeria, Canada and USA. The growth of medical colleges will have a beneficial effect in medical tourism business as well.

Medical facilities in Barbados

Technician Adjusts X-Ray Machine For Scanning

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 center 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.  Medical tourism marketing digitally can reach overseas patients and increase revenue.

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

Business partnership meeting in office

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 potential 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.

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