Building-out a Viable Barbados Medical Tourism Sector

Group based at Simon Fraser University researching medical tourism in Barbados

Group based at Simon Fraser University researching medical tourism in Barbados

The emergence of the private health care sector in Barbados has grabbed the attention of BU in recent times. One of the problems we face in Barbados is that we seem to make decisions without considering robust research. One such area is medical tourism. BU did a scan of the Democratic Labour Party’s Manifesto and we were not able to find any significant mention, and it was not a serious election platform issue. How important is medical tourism to the strategy to diversity our tourism product?

BU would have preferred the University of the West Indies to have undertaken any research to establish the viability of the medical tourism sector but we are not there yet. We note however that a research group based at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Canada has generated a study which can be used to inform discussion on the subject of whether to establish a medical tourism sector.

Here is the link to a one page summary of the research.

Thanks to BU family member Sargeant for bring this matter to our attention.

0 thoughts on “Building-out a Viable Barbados Medical Tourism Sector


  1. David.
    Medical tourism is not really new to Barbados, although it was not called that then. But early in the last century many rich folk from Guyana came to Barbados to facilitate their recovery from infectious illnesses like TB.Pat can tell you a lot about this, as she grew up in the area.

    When the homes in Sunset strip in Holetown were owned by wealthy snow birds, many of them employed local nurses around the clock. This went on into the early 80’s, at least.

    These might have been primordial beginnings, but many big businesses start simply like this.


  2. The high number of simultaneous blogs is what makes BU successful. It allows those of us with a brain to share a view other than politics and who biting who and who is a buller etc.

    Note that topics of serious import dont seem to fly on BU, MOST PROBABLY BECAUSE OF THE BETZPAENIA THAT IS RAMPANT ON POSTERS OF YOUR ILK!

    TOO MANY POSTS? YES FOR THOSE OF SHORT ATTENTION SPAN, INTER ALIA. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS READ ONLY THE POSTS YOU ARE INTERESTED IN. E.G THOSE FROM CARSON CADOGAN.


    • @GP

      Understood but with the possibility of this sector being marketed to align with an on the ground structure (read resources) the study is useful to evaluate impact.


  3. @David.
    When the DLP bought St. Joseph Hospital after they were elected in 1986, the utilization of this hospital as a centre for treatment of patients from North America was one of the objectives of the proposed hospital. I was on the committee; chaired by Dr. Erskine Simmons, that made the decision to purchase the hospital (from the Vatican, who it turned out were the owners of the property). The committee compared prices paid by Blue Shield and Blue Cross for various procedures and were of the opinion that these procedures could be done in Barbados, we could raise foreign exchange and at the same time have the patients as potential visitors after their recovery. Unfortunately after the BLP won power in the next election they completely abandoned the hospital (even though it was finished and functional). However the proposed new hospital on the same property would obviously be used for such a purpose. It needs to be looked at again.


  4. ALVIN
    THE CLOSURE OF THE REFURBISHED AND FUNCTIONAL ST JOSEPH’S HOSPITAL BY THE BLP AFTER 94 WAS REPREHENSIBLE, SHORT SIGHTED AND STUPID ESPECIALLY AS A PLOY FROM THE MEMBER OF ST PETER.
    WHAT WAS HE THINKING?


  5. @GP. When the homes in Sunset strip in Holetown were owned by wealthy snow birds, many of them employed local nurses around the clock. This went on into the early 80′s, at least.
    …………………………………………………………..
    Also many of these “nurses”, or servants as they were called in the early days, were employed not privy to the true nature of the complaint that those under their care were suffering from. As a result many of these nurses/servants were stricken with TB ,especially. I knew of an entire family that were wipe out, when a daughter was commuting between the sick person and her own home.


  6. BUGGY
    You are probably correct about the cases you cite. But the cases I am talking about involved trained nurses who would moon light while off duty.


  7. In the synopsis prepared by SFU it is stated that a private Corporation out of the US will be operating the proposed medical facility in the North of the island. One of the questions that immediately come to mind is whether the personnel (doctors) will be local or foreign. If locals are used one can be sure that they will be the best talent available which could have a detrimental impact on the health of the local populace.

    If Doctor “A” with a specialized skill set is hired to perform a procedure on patients at these facilities those locals waiting for treatment in B’dos may have their wait time extended. Foreign doctors may well fit the bill but the B’dos Gov’t should ensure that the qualifications of any medical practitioner who comes to perform are vetted before any permission is granted to operate.


  8. Most of what you say is true Sarge. But with the expansion of the UWI Med school in the last three decades, there are a lot of Drs around.
    Perhaps these initiatives might cause many highly trained Bajan Drs in North America to return. JUST ASKING lol


  9. @Sarge

    there is an agreemnt that there will be a transfer of skills to local doctors, The objective is not to create a dearth of doctors to service the existing health facilities. doctors will be coming from overseas.


  10. Canada has saved nearly $400-million by poaching doctors from Africa, while the African countries that trained those doctors have lost billions of dollars as a result of medical migration.

    Wealthy countries such as Canada are benefiting significantly from those African losses as thousands of trained doctors continue to emigrate from African countries that already suffer a severe shortage of health workers, new research shows.

    The study casts a new light on the issue of foreign aid, showing that the relationship between Canada and Africa is not merely a story of Canada giving and Africa receiving. In fact, Canada benefits enormously from Africa’s human resources.

    More than 22 per cent of Canada’s physicians are foreign-trained, and Africa (especially South Africa) has been the biggest source of those doctors in recent years. In Saskatchewan, more than half of the practising doctors are foreign-trained, including hundreds from South Africa.


  11. yes i will leave the USA and Europe and canada where they have the best doctors in the world to barbados a little negro infested country to be butchered by some locally trained student.
    hold on i coming.
    does it include some free bamboo?????yahooooooooooooo

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