Invest Barbados today announced that a new world-class hospital will be built on the site of the former St. Joseph Hospital as part of a long-term development program that will also bring several specialty treatment centres, biotechnology research companies and patient accommodation facilities to the country over the next five years.
“This exciting initiative brings a national asset back into productive use in a way that will generate foreign exchange, international investment and tax revenue, as well as employment and skills training and technology transfer,” said Wayne Kirton, the CEO of Invest Barbados.
The project is being undertaken by American World Clinics (“AWC”), a corporation that supports, arguably, the most respected healthcare brand in the world—board-certified American physicians—by providing them with a favorable practice environment in which to provide the highest standard of medical care to an international clientele.
“Our role is to support what is, we believe, the most respected healthcare brand in the world—board-certified American physicians—and we believe that Barbados has the quality of life, educational facilities, and technological resources to enable us to achieve our strategic goals as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Paul Angelchik, a plastic surgeon from Phoenix, Arizona and CEO of AWC.
“We have been particularly impressed by the prudence and sophistication that the Government of Barbados has demonstrated in considering our proposal,” added Robert Priddy, an experienced healthcare executive and AWC President. “We intend to work with its officials closely in the years ahead to meet the interests not only of our physician-members, but also of the people of Barbados.”
Registered as a Barbadian corporation, American World Clinics expects to attract investors from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom who are interested in the potential of medical tourism. The primary market for AWC’s hospital and care services and facilities in Barbados will be patients from the UK and North America, but treatment will also be available to Barbadians and other international clients seeking private medical and surgical care.
The project will bring numerous benefits to Barbados, Mr. Kirton explained. The estimated construction and equipment cost of the first phase of foreign investment is approximately BDS$92 million, providing jobs for about 200 Barbadians.
Once operations begin, approximately 230 persons will be employed at the facility in a range of job categories. AWC has pledged to hire locally whenever possible.
The development will generate the equivalent of BDS$200 million per year in foreign exchange during its first few years, according to conservative estimates, with that figure rising steadily over the longer term.
“Of equal importance for the future of our country,” said Barbados’ Minister of Health, the Hon. Donville Inniss, “is the opportunity for Barbadian healthcare professionals to work alongside leading US surgeons in employing the latest medical techniques and equipment to improve patient outcomes.
“While medical care will primarily be provided U.S. physicians and healthcare specialists, Barbadian professionals will be able to collaborate with them on a daily basis in working with patients. These professional partnerships, as well as the introduction of new research and specialty care facilities to our infrastructure, will provide significant benefits in terms of both technology and skills transfer.”
He added that AWC will work with public health officials to ensure that the facility’s operations will not have a negative impact on the number of local healthcare professionals available to serve Barbadians’ need.
In addition, Mr. Kirton pointed out that the estimated tourism value of patient visits will be in excess of BDS$50 million per year for accommodation, food and beverages, taxi services, car hires and other related goods and services.
AWC’s initial hospital facility will offer a wide range of services - urologic surgery, orthopedic surgery, bariatric surgery, ENT surgery, general and gynecologic surgery, ophthalmic surgery, dental surgery, plastic surgery, dermatological treatment and medical research. Specialty centers for neuroscience, cardiology and oncology will be developed in conjunction with the main AWC hospital facility.
The main facility will include:
12 operating rooms
50 inpatient/overnight beds capable of swing capacity to support critical care needs
20 outpatient, pre- and post-operative exam rooms
A separate cosmetic dentistry area
Diagnostics, radiology and laboratory facilities
A wellness, spa and recuperative component.
Over the next five years, as part of the program, branches of internationally known specialty treatment centres from the United States, as well as several medical equipment and biotechnology research companies are expected to open. Patient and family accommodation facilities will also be developed.
It is expected that the hospital will be accredited by the Joint Commission International, which provides the gold standard in healthcare accreditation services to hospitals around the world.
In return for AWC’s construction and operation of the facility, the Government of Barbados will lease the property for a period of 25 years, with an option to renew for a further 25 years.
In order to meet international hospital construction and design standards required for accreditation, AWC’s advisors have determined that none of the existing structures on the St. Joseph hospital site are suitable for use, so that the project will require substantial greenfield construction and capital investment prior to the start of operations, and will be subject to Barbados Town and Country Planning and environmental planning guidance and approval.