The Bahamas provides the largest international client base for several hospitals in South Florida, with thousands of patients every year, but a new hospital seeks to reverse this trend.
A group of Bahamian doctors are building a hospital in Fort Charlotte, with the idea of offering specialist services for local and international patients. The Renaissance Harbour View Pavilion plans to invest $5 million in phase one to create a 10-bed facility by mid-2013. The doctors are now seeking investment partners to take the project forward, targeting a 40-bed specialty hospital in the near future at a cost of $50 million. Overlooking Paradise Island, the boutique hospital will serve as a pioneer for medical tourism in The Bahamas.
Speaking for the group, Dr. Barrett McCartney explains, “Our plan is to develop the healthcare system so we can do as much here as possible. We continue to send a lot of patients to the USA for rehabilitation care following strokes, brain injuries, and traffic accidents. We aim to compete with the US so Bahamians no longer need to go abroad for care. Once established we want to target patients from the USA.”
The Renaissance will focus on being a diagnostic and in-patient rehabilitation centre, and to later offer niche surgical procedures commonly seen in Europe, but rare in North America; such as ligament transplants.
Dr. Barrett McCartney adds, “Because of our location, we are extremely well positioned. With the ease of travel, the amenities in Nassau and on Paradise Island, that we speak English as a first language and that we use US dollars, all we need is the proper facilities.” Off the east coast of Florida in the warm climate of the Caribbean, the Bahamas is a favourite tourist destination for US travellers.
Nine years ago, the downturn in the local economy forced the closure Western Medical Plaza. Doctors Hospital has decided to re-open the facility. Operating under a new name, the full service hospital will services for local and international patients seeking treatment in The Bahamas. There will be an international patient department when it opens in April 2012.
Doctors Hospital has begun aggressively working on its marketing strategy and campaign to attract its core target markets in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. 16 % of Doctors Hospital's business comes from non-Bahamians, and the target is to grow this number to 50 %. Doctors Hospital already has a successful HIFU programme, which brings 15 patients to The Bahamas each month. It now plans to weight loss surgery, cosmetic surgery, spinal fusion and hip and knee replacement procedures. Doctors Hospital is also developing key partnerships with local hotels that are suitable for accommodating surgical patients and providing the level of concierge service that will be necessary.
It is estimated that every international patient who travels to The Bahamas for treatment will bring as many as three family members or friends with them for support. These additional visitors will need places to stay, restaurants to eat in and things to do while visiting, while medical trips tend to be a lot longer than a traditional holiday.