Hargreaves looks to medical tourism

Hargreaves looks to medical tourism

BY ALICIA SUTHERLAND Observer staff reporter sutherlanda@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, April 05, 2015

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester -- With recent upgrade and plans for further growth at the privately operated Hargreaves Memorial Hospital in Mandeville, Senior Medical Officer Dr Azzard Comrie believes that the facility has the potential to attract overseas visitors seeking health care.

Hargreaves, which was started as a community maternity hospital in 1925, was taken over in 2006 by owners of Lyn's Funeral Home, Calvin and Sylvia Lyn.

Now growing as a family business, the most recent investment is a Computer Tomography (CT Scan) Department and a new block named in honour of the Lyns -- Calvin & Sylvia Vision of Hope.

Comrie, at a recent dedication ceremony, said that with the ongoing upgrade and the hiring of additional doctors, medical cases that were previously referred elsewhere can now be handled at Hargreaves.

The operators of the hospital, he said, have the vision of not being just local but offering service to the wider Caribbean and the rest of the world.

They hope to have fewer patients flying abroad for medical care as they aim to tap into what Comrie said was a boom in medical tourism now.

Central Manchester Member of Parliament Peter Bunting said that while plans are in place to grow Mandeville as a centre of excellence for knowledge-based industries, it is also recognised as one of the choice locations to retire. As such "the full spectrum" of health care and wellness services is essential, he said.

Bunting said that he would like to see Mandeville Regional Hospital transition to a Type A public health facility, not as a means of competing with Hargreaves but as an expansion of the offering in the health services sector.

He said that the plans for the availability of health care services fit in with a "broader vision" of developing the economy of the constituency and the Central Jamaica region.

Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson said that any expansion of the private health sector is an opportunity to strengthen public/private partnerships.

"It is in line with the ministry's effort to improve service delivery, access to diagnostic equipment and improve primary and secondary health care through improved quality of service, infrastructure renewal and equipment acquisition," said Ferguson.

"The private health sector plays an important role in improving the health of our population. In fact, (it) contributes somewhere around three per cent of GDP to the health sector," he added.

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