HEALTH OF THE SECTOR

Jamaica 2018 | HEALTH & EDUCATION | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Dr. Germaine Spencer, CEO of Baywest Wellness Clinic, on bridging the gaps in current healthcare services, the potential of medical tourism, and key areas of opportunity.

Dr. Germaine Spencer
BIOGRAPHY
Dr. Germaine Spencer is a graduate of the University of the West Indies, where he earned MBBS and doctor of medicine degrees. He completed a gynae-oncology degree at TATA Memorial Hospital in Mumbai. In addition to his position at Baywest Wellness Clinic, he is also the owner and Director of Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation of Jamaica, the owner of 876 Legends Sports Bar, and a board member of the Montego Bay United Football Club.

Could you describe the activities and vision of Baywest Wellness Clinic?

Baywest Wellness Clinic started in 2012, and we have gained the trust of the local population. Presently, the health sector is in somewhat of a health crisis, especially at the main hospital in Western Jamaica. We have developed a multi-specialty clinic that includes an outpatient surgical department for the local population and have different specialty clinics surrounding Montego Bay. We provide medical care for business sectors under another of our brands called E-sure Medical, as well as through corporate nursing stations. The next step for us is to centralize the services we provide by establishing a hospital, which we look forward to opening in 2018. Our vision is a 15-bed hospital with all the basic amenities available. Our aim is to create a facility that will provide first-rate care for both local and foreign patients.

How are you addressing the gaps in current healthcare services?

We are indeed filling the gaps in the current healthcare sector. People know of the brand Baywest. For those who want to avoid the hustle and bustle of public hospitals, our 24-hour urgent care facility, Fairview, is an excellent alternative and is well equipped with all the necessary services to take care of them. At this time, we still refer a small percentage of cases and this is where our hospital will come into play. Once we have that on board, we will be able to provide all services for our valued patients.

How will you reach your goal of becoming the largest private provider of healthcare services here?

We require the funds. We have the workforce; however, capital is needed to outfit the different centers throughout the island. There are enough doctors and support in paramedical structures available. We need the capital to retrofit our spaces and turn different areas into different urgent care facilities throughout. In the long term, we plan to expand to every part of Jamaica. We want to become the premier private medical facility in Jamaica, not only at the primary care level but also on the tertiary care level.

What is your assessment of the potential of health tourism?

The potential is enormous. We can target the non-insured population in the US. We have the expertise; however, we need the proper infrastructure. Once we have that in place, we will be second to none. The only difference will be the location of where we do surgery. Health tourism is a massive market; however, the only benefits Jamaica is experiencing currently is trauma-health tourism, which includes accidents or a sudden illness.

What specialties do you see the greatest potential for within health tourism?

The cannabis health industry is second to none and extracts from this industry have numerous benefits, for example, a cannabis hospice that deals with chronic pain management, seizure activity, and glaucoma. Quick procedures that allow patients to get in and out of hospitals quickly are another possible area. Orthopedics are also a big thing, though they are chronic. The rehabilitation sector could be profitable as well, which includes physical therapy, speech therapy, and other similar paramedical areas.

What is your outlook on the health industry in Jamaica?

The problem with our present health industry has to do with finances and political willpower. Free healthcare for everyone in a third world country is not sustainable. Healthcare can be free for certain segments of the population or we can phase it such that primary healthcare areas are free while in the hospital setting, patients have to pay for drugs, lab tests, surgeries, and so on. Jamaica's strategic location is ripe for health tourism. What Jamaican tourism needs to do is create packages for business people, for example tax incentives, because once they enter the sector, they will invest and the money will stay in Jamaica and boost our economy.