Medical tourism is serious business

The concept of medical tourism in a nutshell is the movement of patients from expensive territories to cheaper destinations in order to undergo procedures. 

In this way, healthcare costs can be significantly reduced for the patient whilst the destinations also benefit from not just the direct costs associated with procedures but a raft of secondary effects. 

Those who can benefit come in several stages including those in construction, consultants, engineers and utilities as infrastructure is built. Government benefits from the taxation and duties payable with the exception of specific exclusion incentives. 

Should staff be local, money remains in the economy to a great extent and if from off-island their spending whilst on-island extends to their own utilities, leisure, rent and cost of living spend. 

Secondly, once a facility is established, workers are needed to staff it. Whilst Cayman may not be able to supply specific specialists, there is also a need for nurses, carers, kitchen, administration, cleaning and security staff. Suppliers of food and other goods could benefit from the increased activity, leading to an economic stimulus.  

Any imported specialists would also need housing with the attendant second order effects on the rental and accommodations industry, with possibilities that new build housing be established for the same reasons. 

Following the undergoing of procedures, it is felt that the beaches and atmosphere of the venue are an ideal way to recuperate. Therefore, the tourism industry proper comes into play at this stage. 

Cayman Airways and other airlines would be required to service areas of the greatest demand, which would be likely to add significant aircraft movement to Owen Roberts International Airport, which would reopen the discussion about runway extension and landside facility revamping. Facilities would need to be refined for people unable to stand or queue through immigration. There may also be a need for an investment in the road system in order to obviate any potential gridlock issues at peak times.  

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  1. Thank you for a perspective on the positive growth the Shetty Hospital will bring.
    The infrastructure needed to support this project is not yet in place- particularly transport. As I will reside in Rum Point, I am not looking forward to a 2-hour drive to Georgetown. Upgrading the highway will cost many millions, and it is needed sooner rather than later along with housing, retail, policing and fire services. I hope these can be put in place faster than a decision on Mount Trashmore!