Minister: State looking at medical tourism

Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at the 2022/2023 National Budget consultations in Lautoka. Picture: REPEKA NASIKO

Medical tourism is an area the Government is looking to take advantage of as facilities such as the refurbished Lautoka Hospital and the new Ba Hospital will implement new health and medical services.

During the 2022/2023 Pre-Budget consultation in Lautoka, Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the international community could access quality health care in Fiji.

“The reason we also chose the Lautoka Hospital is that we believe also in medical tourism,” he said.

He said the moment those services were offered here, which none of the other Pacific island countries have, they would come to Fiji.

“So we need the international airport close by because it makes it easier for them.” He said Fiji’s tourism sector would also have access to quality health care.

“In Australia, and this came out just last week that the waiting time in a public hospital in Victoria, Melbourne was 24 hours. “Why? Because there is a shortage of nurses. Many people don’t want to get into the medical field after COVID-19.

“The elective surgeries in Australia before the pandemic (the waiting time) were about two years in a public hospital.

“So if we have Aspen Medical here from Australia operating our hospital and if we can have those elective surgeries done here in Fiji that would be great.

“They can come here, stay at a hotel after the surgery and that is business for the hotel industry.”

He added aged-care services that Fijians were known for in the United States could be offered in Fiji.

“If we have a full-time tertiary medical facility available here then a lot of people would be interested in setting up aged-care homes.

“That creates investment and jobs for us.”

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