19 May OPPOSITION LEADER SAYS COUNTRY MUST LOOK TO MEDICAL TOURISM TO SPUR GROWTH
The need for Jamaica to seriously move towards medical tourism and explore the possibility of training healthcare professionals to fill local and overseas vacancies were posited by Opposition Leader, Dr. Peter Phillips during his recent visit to the Savannah La Mar Hospital in Westmoreland.
The Opposition Leader was on the second leg of his Listening Tour across the parish when he made the stop at the health facility to see firsthand the state of the infrastructure and talk with hospital personnel.
The hospital administrators, in a meeting with the Opposition Leader, laid out the financial woes of the institution and the challenges it faces in serving the public with growing healthcare needs.
Dr. Phillips told the administrators that it is of utmost importance that all is done to solve the problems facing the health sector as only when we are able to guarantee our people a reliable, efficient and high-quality service, can we expect real growth to our economy.
He further stated that with the quality of doctors and other medical personnel in Jamaica, it is not a far-flung idea for the country to seriously consider medical tourism as an option to spur growth and push the development of Jamaica. In fact, this is becoming a niche area in many jurisdictions as a serious economic earner with positive spin-offs and we should not be left behind.
The wider-ranging discussion also noted the shortage of nurses to fully support the services at the hospital.
According to the administrators, the facility is operating with some 50 per cent of the nursing support it needs. The migration of nurses has had a significant impact on the supply chain of practitioners.
Dr. Phillips said it is full time the nation explore with those countries that engage our nurses to see how we can train these specialists to meet the demands of their markets while protecting our own level of health delivery.
As part of his Child Month outreach, the Opposition Leader made a brief stop at the children’s ward where he again greeted staff and patients, and led a team of donors who gave over a million dollars’ worth of much-needed medical supplies and toys to the children’s unit.
Joining the Opposition Leader in donating to the Children’s unit were Kurt Boothe of Medical Disposables and Supplies, who delivered medicine valued at over JMD$1M. T Geddes Grant and Answers for Children also joined in the contribution.