MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – Jamaica’s drive to develop health tourism has taken a giant step forward with an announcement that by the second half of 2015, the Hospiten Group will have a 22-room state-of-the art general hospital in operation at Cinnamon Hill in Rose Hall, St. James.
The US$20 million investment will provide medical-hospital services for western Jamaica and the north coast, from Negril to Ocho Rios, and while targeting the tourism market, will also serve Jamaicans. The full-service facility will be equipped with an Image Diagnosis Centre, a Surgical Block, an Intensive Care Unit (ICU), a Clinical Analysis Lab, and a 24 hour Emergency Room.
Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, the Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill joined Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson-Miller in welcoming the Hospiten Group’s investment at a press launch at the Montego Bay Convention Centre recently.
Jamaica’s Prime Minister Simpson-Miller sees the hospital playing a major role in fostering health tourism.
The Prime Minister said she was pleased that this facility would be the first of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean adding that, “this investment represents a tangible outcome of Jamaica’s Master Plan for Sustainable Tourism Development and the work of successive governments.”
“It’s a giant step forward in terms of health tourism. We’ve had lot of discussion over the years about health tourism and there have been small incursions but here we have a US$20 million investment in health tourism which will benefit Jamaicans and visitors alike,” said Minister McNeill.
He added that while there are other facilities in the island, “this one caters directly to a certain niche market and what you will find happening is that for investors who are bringing visitors here, it gives them a sense of comfort and promotes even more investment.”
Dr. McNeill said his ministry was also promoting investment in other areas of health and wellness tourism such as retirement villages, convalescent homes and“persons who want that sort of investment are going to want to have that kind of care available for their families.” He noted therefore, that the Hospiten hospital “brings that other dimension to our tourism sector so it really is a huge leap for health tourism.”
President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, JHTA, Evelyn Smith also said the sector welcomed the hospital as a boost to health tourism. “It’s a great investment in tourism and it answers the call for a service that is so needed within the industry right now, so obviously the membership welcomes it,” she said.
During construction the project will provide 300 jobs and a similar number when in operation, according to Hospiten’s Chairman, Dr. Pedro Luis Cobiella. It was noted that the Hospiten Group is an international network of private hospitals which is dedicated to providing high level healthcare services. The Chairman said the Group’s maxim was to achieve excellence in the services provided, “both in medicine and in patient care, the result of which is that all our hospitals have obtained international recognition for quality and excellence in services and management”.
An important part of that achievement, he noted, lies in understanding, respecting and adapting to the environment, “to the different cultures of the places we settle in”. The three-storey hospital will be constructed on land that the company acquired at Red Girl in Cinnamon Hill in 2008.