Eye on health

Barbados’ vital health care sector seems headed towards increased “privatisation” whether Government likes it or not.

As debate continues over the merits of divesting state assets and relinquishing control of key areas including education, health, transportation and sanitation to the business community, one of the best known names in corporation Barbados is preparing to invest in the provision of medical services.

Cave Shepherd & Company Limited Chief Executive Officer John Williams shared the news during an interview with Barbados TODAY.

He said it was part of a continued diversification plan by the 106 year old company.

More known for its department stores selling furniture, clothing, stationery and similar items, in recent times Cave Shepherd has diversified into tourism, investments, and financial services.

Now, Williams said, in addition to partnering with renewable energy company RE Power on a $25 million wind energy venture, the company was entering the health care sector.

Noting that this was still in the “formative” stage, the spokesman said it was clear the health sector of the future would be a more balanced mix of public and private providers.


“We see that there are opportunities, the demand for medical services are growing in Barbados. The reality is that you will see more and more specialist services and so on are being provided by private entities,” he said.

“If you look at Belleville, whether it’s imaging or whatever you see more and more investment. The level of investment in Belleville is much greater than the level of investment in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and so we see that as has happened in many other countries there is an opportunity.

“The reality is that our future will be a blend of public and private provision of health services,” he added. Though noting that “it’s early days yet”, the CEO said Cave Shepherd officials “have been in some preliminary discussions”.

He noted it was still to be determined whether the company would favour getting involved in the construction of a medical facility or focussing instead on another area of health care provision, including diagnostics.

Cave Shepherd is the latest of a number of Barbadian companies, many of which have partnered with local medical professionals and opened clinical medical facilities, to decide to venture into the health care sector.

Government has also been trying to get foreign investors to get involved in the health and wellness sector, with the most prominent case thus far being American World Clinics, which is to transform the site of the former St. Joseph Hospital into a modern medical facility targeting international patients.


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