Medical Tourism in Nevis? New River Medical Centre

Minister of Health and Deputy Premier in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) Hon. Hensley Daniel was on hand as ground was broken recently at New River on July 25, 2012, for construction of the world class New River Medical Centre (NRMC). On completion in 2013 it will be the Region’s first medical and rehabilitation center.

The US$15million wellness centre set for completion by late 2013, Mr. Daniel noted, was a partnership with the NIA and the Princeton Health Care Incorporated based in Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America (USA). “This is a new component being added to diversify the health sector. The health and medical tourism industry has emerged in response to the incredibly huge cost of having most surgical procedures performed in countries like the United States, Britain and Japan. Medical tourism has become big business for these countries by offering costs for patient care in an atmosphere that can often rival five star hotels, previously only found in the hospitality industry,” he said.

The Health Minister further explained that there were several mitigating factors which led to the increasing popularity of medical travel among them the high cost of health care, long weight times for certain procedures, the ease and affordability of international travel and improvements in both technology and standards of care in many countries. “The avoidance of waiting times is the leading factor for medical tourism in the UK, whereas in the US the main reason is cheaper prices abroad. In 2009, there were 60,000 patients going for medical treatment abroad in the UK. Based on the 800,000 tourist arrivals estimated in 2012, we anticipate a highly growing demand for medical service to address the medical tourism industry clients in the region,” he said.

According to Mr. Daniel [. . .] “The medical centre will focus on providing the services of selective non-complicated general bariatric surgery, orthopaedic surgery, plastic/cosmetic surgery and dental surgery. The New River Medical Centre will develop a 22 bed, world class health care facility, supported by a Rehab/Wellness Centre consisting of up to 15 Rehab Suites based within the campuses of the NRMC. The New River Medical Centre will provide cost effective surgical diagnostic rehabilitation services on an inpatient and outpatient basis,” he said. The Facility would also provide some ancillary services for private pay residents in St. Kitts and Nevis. Those services would be of high quality and provided by the joint skills and talents of Caribbean physicians, nurses, therapists and service personnel.

The Health Minister also expressed the view that the Centre would enjoy a virtual monopoly on orthopaedic procedures, cosmetic surgery, and post sub-acute care rehabilitation in the St. Kitts and Nevis region. “At the present time there are no facilities for inpatient rehabilitation operating in the Region or the Eastern Caribbean,” he said. [. . .] Princeton Health care had a competitive and comparative advantage in the development and management of health projects, Mr. Daniel stated and were engaged in projects in the United States, Brazil and India. “You see then, that we have been able to bring on board an able and competent company. This project is the first in the Caribbean. We lead because performance matters,” he said in conclusion.”

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