Canadian medical tourism study team arrives in Barbados
A team of researchers from Simon Fraser University (SFU) is spending the next week looking at medical tourism in Barbados. Professor Jeremy Snyder and his colleagues will talk with medical professionals, patients and representatives from our government and tourism industry. The researchers will tour some of the private medical facilities in Barbados, but we don’t know if they will be touring any of our public health facilities, including the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
We hope the SFU team does tour our public health facilities, because we believe that part of their report should be about the impact that private health care facilities and medical tourism have upon public health resources – in a country with no conflict of interest laws.
You see folks, many people on this island are concerned that public resources paid for by the taxpayers, are being diverted from public health care to private health care facilities. There are also rumours that some elected and appointed government officials have interests in private medical facilities – but without Freedom of Information laws it is impossible for Barbadians to know.
We don’t even know the amount of government support being given to the private “medical tourism” facilities, or in what forms it is given and received.
And, of course, without conflict of interest rules and integrity legislation it is no crime by public officials to divert public funds to private facilities in which they, or their close family members, are part owners. We might very well have public support flowing into the pockets of the same government officials who dispense the tax dollars to the private clinics!
So to our friends from Vancouver Canada’s Simon Fraser University, we say “This is normal on de rock. Welcome to Barbados, folks!”
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