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  • Why is the Caribbean not a top destination for medical travel

    Caribbean beach

    Caribbean beach ©Trish Hartmann/Flickr

    The list of the top 10 destinations for medical travel in the last years start with Brazil, Costa Rica, South Korea, Malaysia and goes on without mentioning any country from the Caribbean.

    Despite the fact that they educate many great doctors in the region, these countries still don’t really get their slice of the cake that made up more than 10% of the global GDP of 2013 and which is fashionably called the medical travel industry. Let us see why is the Caribbean not a top destination – or at least not yet…

    Medical education in the Caribbean

    The English speaking countries of the region have in total 27 medical schools. The problem is that only 5 of these establishments are accredited by the high authority Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and Other Health Professions.

    New doctors taking the Hippocratic oath

    New doctors taking the Hippocratic oath ©MilitaryHealth/Flickr

    With the global blooming of the medical travel industry it is probable that this number will grow considerably in the next few years because international organizations accrediting medical facilities have more strict rules regarding the quality of education doctors and other medicine related personnel are getting.

    It is likely that Caribbean hospitals who want to specialize in foreign patients will bring in physicians from abroad to rise the prestige of the institution and also to further educate their doctors.

    Things that should be done

    The common efforts of hospitals, doctors and insurance providers would result in faster results concerning accreditation, professionalism, a higher volume of foreign patients and a general boost of medical tourism in the Caribbean.

    Finding investors who would see an opportunity in creating a surgical center/ hospital providing high quality services would also boost the economy as well as popularize other hospitals in the region and bring the Caribbean as a medical travel destination into the attention of more people.

    Caribbean beach

    Great place for a recovery ©Trish Hartmann/Flickr

    A huge number of US patients are seeking treatment abroad as procedures are extremely expensive in their home country compared to other places. The Caribbean could be  a perfect alternative: it is relatively close, hospitals could provide services for a fraction of the US rates and the exotic environment is perfect for a recovery.

    A boost in the Caribbean medical travel industry would also contribute to a growth in tourism and a lot of new jobs would be created both in the health care and the hospitality business. People love to travel to the Caribbean already, so it is just a step from there to attract medical tourists as well.

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