By: The Anguillian
May 11, 2015 (Anguilla)
There is growing cooperation between Anguilla and Puerto Rico in which, through the services of Pavia Hospital, in that US territory, Anguillians are receiving specialist treatment, although a formal agreement is still to be accomplished.
Now, with the scheduled flights of Seaborne Airlines, between the territories, there are further opportunities for the development of medical tourism with all its resultant benefits for Anguillian patients and their families.
It was in that light that – under an arrangement involving the Anguilla Tourist Board, Seaborne Airlines, and Pavia Hospital, a local group, comprising travel, health and media representatives paid a three-day familiarization visit to Puerto Rico several days ago. The main concentration of the trip was to observe the facilities and services at Pavia Hospital at Santurce and to hold exploratory discussions with the medical personnel there.
The FAM TRIP Familiarization Trip for the Anguilla visitors included a visit to the Radiology Therapy and Cancer Institute (RTCI), a sister property of Pavia Hospital, an official tour of Pavia Hospital and its International Patient Department and an excursion trip which included the Toro Verde Adventure Park.
Medical Director at Pavia Hospital, Madeliza Ramirez, spoke about the institution’s undertaking and pleasure to provide assistance to the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Anguilla in terms of patient treatment and preventive care, or for a second diagnostic opinion. She said that, in addition to patients, the hospital was also interested in taking care of their accompanying relatives. She also spoke about the hospital’s arrangement with Seaborne Airlines to assist Anguillian patients to travel to Puerto Rico for treatment at Pavia Hospital.
Anguilla’s Director of Tourism, Mrs. Candis Niles, said the FAM TRIP, aimed at promoting medical tourism, was important in terms of sharing the opportunities available through the partnership with Pavia Hospital with the Anguillian public. She was pleased that the hospital had worked out a program with Seaborne Airlines to support persons traveling from Anguilla to Puerto Rico for medical purposes.
Speaking on his return to Anguilla from the FAM TRIP, Chief Executive Officer of the Health Authority of Anguilla, Mr. George Brown, told The Anguillian: “I think this event is a welcoming change, and it should be properly looked into as it can become very beneficial for the ailing people of Anguilla, the Health Authority, the Government of Anguilla and its citizens. We are looking at it from a business perspective because something must be in it for the people of Anguilla.”
Pressed further, Mr. Brown continued: “It is in a speculative mode now [but] at present the Health Authority is actually doing business with Pavia, although there is no official MOU. It is a doctor to doctor arrangement… If we can’t diagnose a condition locally, based on the specialties that Pavia offers – and there are quite a few – we would get the patient off to Puerto Rico via ambulance, but of course, there are certain prerequisites such as insurance, affordability and so on. There is a need for these matters to be further looked into from the perspective of immigration clearance between Anguilla and Puerto Rico because, with people being sick, there is not much time for planning or going through immigration or customs to get clearance. All of these logistics need to be looked into but, overall, I think it is a very good initiative that needs to be further looked into from a health-tourism perspective or otherwise.”