Healthcare (regulations, facilities and practitioners) in the Cayman Islands took centre stage in 2021 with the continuing trials and tribulations of the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Fortunately, with over 200 registered healthcare facilities (including pharmacies, laboratories, physician practices and therapy clinics), over 500 registered practitioners, and numerous private specialists, all stakeholders in the field came together in an unprecedented manner to help execute a plan that would keep our community safe and prevent the public healthcare system from being overwhelmed. Their hard work led to a sweeping success, and Cayman remained one of the only countries with zero cases of on-Island transmission since the pandemic began. Following the reopening of Cayman’s borders, it is expected that there will be further positive cases appearing; community spread may continue for quite some time. However, with our high vaccination rates, well-equipped healthcare system and attention towards public safety, Caymanian society is progressing comfortably and optimistically in ‘the new normal.'
2021 saw continued innovation and major developments for the health and wellness community across the public and private sectors. In the public sphere, the Health Services Authority (HSA) expanded their range of services by opening a new specialist clinic at Smith Road Centre (150 Smith Road), which focuses on complimentary and alternative approaches to medicine (CAM), including a chiropractic service, neurology, neurosurgery and more. This is a beneficial introduction to Cayman’s medical field, referring back to old holistic and naturopathic approaches to medicine in which so many generational-Caymanians were very reliant on. The HSA are also hoping to be more inclusive by incorporating braille throughout the facility, to make it more accessible to those with vision impairments. They’ve also outfitted their waiting room with ergonomic seating designed for seniors, ensuring patients feel comfortable in a nurturing, aesthetically-pleasing environment.
Furthermore, at the Cayman Islands Hospital, HSA are prioritising a reduction in their energy consumption and carbon footprint by spending approximately $2 million on green investments. By installing energy-efficient thermal windows, a solar photovoltaic system, four advanced chillers, LED lighting and a hospital recycling programme, it is predicted that such initiatives will provide greater sustainability in the public health sector, whilst also benefitting the patient experience at the HSA.
In the private sector, we are seeing a similar interest in healthcare facilities wanting to prioritise inclusivity and accessibility for all patients across the Cayman Islands. For instance, Health City Cayman Islands (HCCI) located in East End expanded their services and opened their new satellite medical care centre in Camana Bay. This operates as both a general practice clinic and a specialist clinic, offering more targeted medical services including orthopaedics, medical oncology and cardiology.
Additionally, in April 2021, HCCI also opened their Cayman Brac clinic in Stake Bay; they now hope to extend their services further by building another 50+ bed, CI$100 million hospital at the edge of Camana Bay, specialising in neo-natal care and cancer treatment. The project is expected to take two years to complete – a 70,000 sq ft site removing the need for the trek to East End in emergency circumstances – something Dr Binoy Chattuparambil (Clinical Director of HCCI) has said has caused tragic casualties in the past.
Furthermore, plans have been announced for a $350 million medical tourism hospital: Aster Cayman Medcity. Initial phases will begin with a 150-bed hospital in West Bay, which will offer telemedicine services, and the final construction phase hopes to provide 500 beds and an infusion therapy facility. Such initiatives will result in more jobs for residents to fill in the healthcare field; local developer Gene Thompson predicts nearly 2,000 positions will need filling, both directly and indirectly, and Caymanians would be given precedence with construction roles.
Another interesting development was the opening of Total Health in Grand Pavillion – a full service, advanced, primary care hospital offering fully comprehensive healthcare. The 5,500sq ft facility also has an on-site Laboratory and Imaging team, allowing for early detection of diseases and timely intervention. By offering a plethora of personalised, preventive, and accessible care, we hope such multi-service facilities further educate and empower others on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, however, this always depends on one’s ability to access such services and/or benefits.