The Ministry of Tourism will be collaborating with the Ministry of Health and Wellness and Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), in formulating a health tourism policy for Jamaica.
The policy will be an essential framework that outlines the regulations, guidelines, and procedures for promoting and regulating medical tourism in the country, according to Portfolio Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett.
“It is very important that this is done, and we are going to move post haste to get that policy so as to define the broad parameters within which areas of health experiences can be augmented in Jamaica’s tourism product,” he stated.
The Minister was addressing journalists at the end of a two-day tour (March 23-24) across the parishes of Hanover and Westmoreland.
On Friday, March 24, Mr. Bartlett visited the new state of the art Omega Medical Hospital in Negril.
The institution is the first of its kind in the destination and was established by Jamaican-born doctor Dr. Dale Foster.
Mr. Bartlett said the hospital gives a “powerful and strong” destination assurance to tourists who visit and is encouraging other Jamaicans to establish similar operations across Jamaica’s tourism hotspots.
“We want to see this happening in many more places and certainly…all our resort areas should have at least one, to enable responses to various types of illness, accidents and whatever other misfortune may come the way of our visitors who come to Jamaica,” Mr. Bartlett explained.
“The report we got from one of the patients at Omega, someone who has been to Jamaica every year for the last 52 years, fell ill in Negril, but didn’t feel the need to go home (US) immediately to get treatment,” he added.
Mr. Bartlett further stated that the patient “was comfortable enough to have the treatment at Omega Hospital and I think that was the most powerful statement that could be made for destination Jamaica”.