CITA backs Shetty hospital

| 18/08/2010

(CNS): Given the dire circumstances facing the local tourism sector, the president of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association says the body is throwing its support behind the plan by Dr Devi Shetty to build a medical facility here. Narayana Cayman University Medical Centre is being heralded as the dawn of medical tourism on the islandand CITA’s Harri Lalli said the project could inject millions of dollars back into the Cayman economy and would give the industry a chance of real recovery. He said he hoped the project would get started very soon. An MOU was signed in April between Shetty and the Cayman government, paving the way for a major medical facility.

Gene Thompson, one of the local partners involved with the medical centre, told CITA members that of the forecasted US$2 billion in capital expenditure in the project, US$200 million would be spent in the first two years. He revealed that investments in the hospital and accommodation would total US$200 million in the first phase, and an additional 10,000 rooms would be needed on island by 2024, which would generate US$1.2 billion in construction spending. He also noted that that room tax would generate US$ 4.4 million in 2013, growing to US$56 million by 2024. Music to the CITA members’ ears was the expectation that tourist arrivals would be 87,600 for 2013 and continue up to a 1 million increase by 2025.
"The magnitude, complexity, investment and international recognition of this project is overwhelming and every aspect of it has a substantial positive impact on the Cayman Islands, including tourism, which desperately needs all the help it can get today,” said Lalli. "Right now, the tourism industry in Cayman is suffocating from a perfect storm of increased fees, decreased services, decreased visitors and a declining population, and a project like this has the ability to put 100’s of millions of dollars into government immediately and billions over the life of the project. That can give tourism and all businesses here the breathing room to get back to profitability and more so, to begin to grow again."
He added that medical tourism was now a growing industry in the region and has already shown huge success in Costa Rica and Cuba in the Caribbean. "For years, many people have been travelling to India from the United States and this offers them a far closer destination. We all know that somebody coming for treatment is accompanied by other family members who will need accommodation, food etc. and that is the major aspect of this project for tourism businesses here,” Lalli noted.
The president said there would be numerous benefits for many local business associated with the hospital and especially tourism, as well as the benefits to government and the impressive medical services. “I think I speak on behalf of our members in saying that we wish this project the best and look forward to it getting started as soon as possible,” Lalli stated.
CITA Director Hugh Treadwell agreed that the impact of the project would be of substantial benefit to the finances of the country and to all local businesses.  “The tourism aspects of the project are widespread and diverse and will really provide a lot of opportunity for everyone working in all tourism related businesses," said Treadwell.
Since government signed the MOU there have been no further official announcements regarding developments with the project. The main unanswered question is still exactly where Shetty’s health city will be constructed.
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  1. Keith says:

    Just throwing this out there; 

    With the new health care bill soon to be passed in  the US.. offering U.S citizens "free" health care (obviously they have to pay their insurance and what not) doesn’t this put a cramp on the whole Shetty type of low cost medical facility? Granted the bill is not final, but the hospital isnt going to be done for another maybe 2 years?

    How many people leaves the UK and go to India for medical In Mr. Shetty’s hosiptal? (please check out the UK health care cost)

    If someone could correct me, but why would I leave the US to go somewhere else where I will have to pay more for medical?(figuring it’s two years later and the health care bill is working)

    However, I do believe this is a great Idea by Shetty, but an idea that is 10 years too late. The main "customers" we are targeting are changing their own health care plans to make it almost "free". We will still have a cost associated with treatment.

    Also, why would any insurance company offer coverage to people to go outside the US when they have the facilities right there in the US (Please name something that Shetty’s hospital will have that can not be found in the US).

    On another note.. People can not even find money to visit this island.. yet alone afford "low" cost medical treatment here.

    Think about this… they can not afford a plane ticket, accommodations, activities, food.. yet they now can find money to do medical treatments? Even if you balance out the two and replace activities with medical, it is still far too expensive for the average joe, who we wait for every day to come off the plane to take their money.  The Rich doesn’t need this type of facility, as they have their own trusted private doctors..

    So the poor cant and wont come, and the rich doesn’t need it

    So where does this leave Mr. Shettys hospital?

    I believe we should wait to see what the US new medicare bill is offering to it own people before we jump the gun and try to offer them something better. We might be stuck with something we have no need for. 

    Thanks for reading 🙂 

  2. Rationalism says:

    Has everyone in Cayman considered that the evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria due to the widespread (over-)use of antibiotics is actual, current and tangible evidence that evolution of biological entities is really real (for those who missed Chuck’s big publication on the topic in 1859, The Origin of Species)?

    I wouldn’t be so worried about this bug giving me the runs as I would about its existence proving that biological entities were not "created" in immutable form as the Bible suggests but instead evolved as the scientists say, that is if I weren’t already a scientist who has rejected creationism.

    Food for thought…

    • Anonymous says:

      Remember tis is a purely resistant strain . I wouldn’t be so worried about this bug giving me the runs, or creationism vs evolution as much as I would about its outright killing me. 

      • Dr Doctor says:

        Just because they are hard to kill they are not necessarily going to kill you.  For example, a cockroach is harder to kill chemically than a mosquito, but the mosquito will bite you while the roach just stands around and looks creepy. 

        This new bacteria might be hard to kill, but that does not mean it will kill a lot of people.

        H1N1 was supposed to wipe out humanity.  I’m not sure anyone even caught an H1N1 cold…

  3. God's Child says:

    I’m really scared about this! Has anyone considered the nasty, antibiotic resistant bacteria that may arrive on Cayman’s shores from the hordes of Indian medical personnel that this hospital / medical center will need to import to get up and running?

    And where are all these people supposed to live whilst there are here (remember many of them will be bringing their spouses and children along)? Are we going to destroy even more of the environment in our Eastern Districts to accommodate them and build housing? Are we going to set up a little "country within a country" made of these Indian medical personnel and their families (not to stereotype but such ethnic communities tend to stick together and not mingle or assimilate with the surrounding, pre-existing communities).  

    And is medical tourism even feasible for the Cayman Islands given the high cost of living, the need to import everything and pay these people a living wage? Dr. Shetty’s model may work in India where you can pay slave wages and goods are much cheaper but not here where everything is expensive and his employees will demand enough money to live decently.

    This thing has disaster written all over it!!! Wake up Cayman!

    • Dred says:

      Welcome to the Global Economy!!

      The answer is yes. We will have a certain amount of Indians here in the Cayman Islands. They will becomethe leading work permit country here before long.

      Yes Medical Tourism is feasible and we are in the prime location for it. Currently Dr. Sheti facilities in India caters to thousands of foreigners from the USA, Canada, Central America and South America. These people will be rerouted to the Cayman Centre.

      Let’s consider a few things:

      1) Changes to US Laws has made it difficult at best to get certain operations done in the USA

      2) Cost of certain operations due in part to heavy US lawsuits make some surgeries financially stressful on families.

      So now we have to weigh out, Cayman Vs. India.

      With India you will see heavy ticket cost @ approx US$1,600 per person up to US$2,000 per person. The surgery cost will be low. Food while lower will be tricky and worrisome to some US Citizens travelling there who wonder where they will find good food to eat.

      With Cayman you will see signifcantly lower ticket cost especially with Big Mac negoiating lower prices for the hospital patients and families. This is somewhat offset by an increased surgery fee due to it being Cayman. Food wise we are Americanised and people from US will feel at home here.

      There is also the comfort of being an hour or two from home Vs being half way around the world taking 2 days to get home Vs probably 2 hrs.

      There is a good chance that even if the overall package is slightly higher the convenience of being close to home will be th deciding factor because eitherway the cost savings over the USA will be significant.

      NO. This does not have disaster written over it. I have seen seen so much writing here done on 2 seconds of thought not fully realising that:

      1) This is not something NEW to Dr. Shetti and his fianaciers

      2) He will have researched all the numbers 6 millions times before one dollar is spent on construction.

      Do you honestly think that someone spending what will amount to BILLIONS of dollars would not have crunched numbers? If you were considering moving to another country with a business would you not do research as to things such as:

      1) Current political system

      2) Current financial position of the country

      3) Things that will impact your business such as fees, labor, etc

      All these numbers will have been crunched many times over. They even know our politicians quite well.

      So please don’t be naive and think that this whole thing was something thought up overnight by a few friends over drinks. This is the kind of project that takes months to years to work out.

      They probably know more about Cayman Islands than you or I do.

    • Anonymous says:

      from what i’ve seen… the eastern districts could do with some fresh blood in their communities….

    • Rf says:

      Go ahead, crap on the last possible thing that might pull Cayman out of the toilet.

      • Nicolas Sarcasy says:

        "Might" is a bit hopeful; it is not a question of whether Cayman’s economy will collapse, it is just a question of when.  The model has no foundations.

    • Pauly Cicero says:

      OMG! No you didn’t!

  4. Anonymous says:

    wow… the tourist industry really is on the rocks if all they got to hope for is this ‘pie in the sky’ project

    maybe they should spend more time tackling the existing problems within the industry…. and also tackle the current government and it’s policy of ever increasing taxes and fees…. 

  5. UDP and some Independents back it!

    British Prime Minister, David Cameron backs it!

    CITA (Cayman Islands Tourism Association) backs it too!

    I guess the fate of the trees, bush, and shrubs, and the fate of Caymanian workers great and small – is left with me!







  6. Anonymous says:

    "Dr. Devi Shetty, Chairman of Narayana Hrudayalaya, believes this is just the beginning. He believes more viruses and superbugs will be attached to India."

  7. Lachlan MacTavish says:

     With respect Harry the hospital is a far and away dream right now. IMHO the CITA should be placing all of its weight on getting a tourism authority established. Only when the private sector combines forces with the public sector and the stakeholders show the DOT what stay over tourism is about will tourism start to turn around. Good luck.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I think the key to this article is all summed up in the last 2 sentences.

  9. Other Side of the Coin says:

    When you or a family member become seriously ill and then you are brought back to wellness at a medical treatment center such as this one – it profoundly affects your life in so many ways. As you go through the healing process, you will gain a much deeper appreciation of sunrises and sunsets, ocean waves, birds singing……….. life itself and all those that you love.

    For this to occur in Cayman will be an honor for us and we can become a big part of the healing memories and experiences each patient and their families have. This will be good for everyone. When we all pull together to help turn a tragic situation into a joyful healing experience – then everyone wins! This is also the perfect recipe for return visits. CITA – you are so right to give this your full backing.

  10. Anonymous says:

    This has disaster written all over it.

    Anyone who thinks that there will be jobs for Caymanians once this project is running is seriously deluded. There will be very few opportunities. It is not in the business model of Indian companies to use local labour, but to ship in their own nationals who work for far lower rates. Typically they are ‘employed’ in India and would be transferred to Cayman and live all found with a small expense allowance.
    The potential clients are looking for budget healthcare so will not be spending much in the local economy either.
    There is also the prospect of malpractice that is associated with discount healthcare. The Cayman Islands has the unfortunate association with dodgy financial operations;  is it a good idea to add dodgy medical operations as well?
    • Anonymous says:

      That is scary – the minimum wage in India is R100 rupees = USD 2.00

      Now with that 100 rupees I can buy one (1)  2Liters ofCoca-cola, two loaves of bread, two dozens eggs and 4lbs of rice.

      Do we see who has the buying power? It’s nice to allow these people in Cayman, but at who’s expense, it cant be at Caymanians expense, the exploiting has to stop right here.

      Caymanians have to get their fair share.


      • Scratching Head says:

        A 100% share of nothing is still nothing. Get the facility here while planning wisely for your share of it. 

    • Anonymous says:

      08/19/2010 – 07:01


      Negative attitudes like yours are certain to keep Cayman down, go back to school and look at economics 101, or read Adam Smith.

      People willing and able to work can only help our economy.  There are many able Caymanians but not too many willing ones (for certain positions). 

      Many do not want to undertake a job that they consider ‘menial’, and are happy for others of different races to do these for them.  Fine, but do not then complain that others are taking your jobs.

      It takes a positive attitude, as well as a willingness to work at whatever job is available to build a Nation, don’t expect that it can be done on the back’s of other’s.  Those days are over.

      Many expats and Caymanian’s are leaving because of this pervading attitude, and unfortunately, many who are left have no say in the matter.

      Those who will suffer are mainly the children, who are brought up in an insular, racist and religionist culture.

      Pray for them.


    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with you regarding this ridiculous "hype".  This facility is based on cut-cost medical care, thus "Medical Tourism".  How many tourists who have serious medical treatment, surgeries, procedures really want to go souvenier shopping?  They want to recover at home with loved ones.  The people who will use these services are the poorer classes, who cannot afford to pay for medical services in their home country.  Because Mckim El Jong wants this does not make it right. He needs to have his advisors explain to him in detail, what the term "Medical Tourism" means..  I have been hoping that he sees the light and steps down, but I know it is useless to want that, as he will stay there for as long as he can XXXXXX.  Let us get together Caymanians and take our islands back from this ill-educated, ill-advised dictator, or Cuba is going to seem like heaven compared to what we are.

  11. whodatis says:

    Wow! Great news!!

    Not the hundreds of Caymanians trained, specialized and longing for a job in the until now oh so elusive medical field can finally breathe a sigh of relief!

    Jobs all around for us Caymanians … no – Shetty WILL NOT be bringing dozens of his own qualified personnel to work in his fast-paced – no time for training facility!!


    Caymanians for the win!!


    • Scratching Head says:

      I read your comment three times over……… and I’m still not exactly sure what it is that you are trying to say. I am guessing it was mostly sarcasm and I will therefore attempt a reply:

       Yes, it is true that there are not a large number of unemployed Caymanians currently trained in the medical field, and waiting in the sidelines for this kind of opportunity. HOWEVER – if a Caymanian student believes that the medical field is his/her calling, the simple reality is that they will have to find a way to leave the island and be schooled overseas. When their training is complete, no matter how long that takes, they will have first option on their return for any job they now duly qualify for – if that job is being held by a "trained and schooled" work permit holder. They only have to wait until it comes open for renewal and is advertised.

      Perhaps we need to have better long term vision about our Caymanian students future. They cannot expect to walk out of high school and declare themselves experts in any field. They also cannot expect employers to continuing losing all kinds of money while paying them to do a job they are not capable of doing. Often they fumble along purposely for way too long at on-the-job training, wasting a great opportunity and spoiling it for their peers. The employer will only try so many times before they give up and fire you. Remember, most employers are Caymanian also (not that it should matter). None of them owe you their hard earned profits just because you were born here!!! Work hard for what you get, just like they did!

      An employee should seek to enter the work force with knowledge of the position they applied for. Either start at the bottom and learn the long, slow, hard way or go back to school and further your opportunities. It is your choice.

      This medical facility is an opportunity to enhance our "long term" future people!!! Think ahead and not just about the current situation!!! Take it or lose it!!!

      • whodatis says:

        Hello Scratching Head,

        Sorry if I happened to confuse you there, I was being 100% sarcastic.

        I also agree 100% with everything you have said.

        Even after considering the opportunities that this project may provide for Caymanians (by way of professional, skilled and specialized medical employment) in the very long term future – I am not convinced as much as others of the realistic positives for "Caymanians" – for "Cayman" – perhaps … sort of like every other industry thus far I suppose.

        Take care.

      • Truly 100% Caymanian:) says:

        I think if you replace "Not" with "Now" it’ll change your whole response to this posters comment! Which was of course fully 100% Sarcastic.

        Two thumbs up "whodatis":)

  12. noname says:

    I find these projections of tourist very interesting, from other figures circulating in the media and statements made at presentations attended to get this number of tourist each patient would need to bring 24 family members to support them.

    200 beds x 300 days =  60,000 chances to sell a bed.

    average stay for patients = 10 days total patients = 6,000

    60% occupancy = 3,600 patients.

    87,600 tourist/3600 = 24.

    Somebody is painting a rosy unrealistic picture to get CITA support, XXXXXX

  13. Anonymous says:

    Medical tourism is fine as long as the health providers and construction workings are 100% Caymanian.

    • Anonymous says:

      100% Caymanian healthproviders? What is the ratio today may I wonder?I think you will find that you actually have to go to University and study befor you can provide any care at all. If nothing else young Caymanians might get interested in the medical field and all the different job opportunities that comes with it.

      Everything takes time and patience is a virtue. But the simple truth is that without good education you don’t get far. Caymanian or not.

    • Anonymous says:

      Its unethical to give yourself a thumbs up 🙂 

    • Reality Calling says:

      You have Caymanian heart surgeons standing by to staff a 6000 bed cardiac transplant facility? 

      What are they doing now?  Wearing costumes and visiting gas stations?

  14. Anonymous says:

    "The main unanswered question is still exactly where Shetty’s health city will be constructed."

    The answer is, "on land that is owned by current politicians". Read Roy’s book.


  15. Anonymous says:

     Assuming they are aware of NDM-1, the antibiotic-resistant super-bug contracted by medical tourists to India, and now transported by these tourists to hospitals in the UK, Australia, US, Denmark & Canada….

    • Dr. Pepper says:

      The Shetty facility will lead to the importation of many dangerous diseases into Cayman.  That is part of the pros and cons.  However in the future travel for medical treatment will probably be far more restricted to prevent rapid spread of infectious disease.  Most epidemiologists are agreed on this.  Alas this factor creates a real risk of reduced income streams for the new hospital.

    • Worstelodium says:

      Have faith, surely Dr Shetty’s highly skilled medical experts with their cutting edge technology, skills, drugs and equipment can triumph over this new threat…. With the 1 million visitors projected by 2025 just from medical tourism alone this "2 x 4" country will be back on track for prosperity for all.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you work in the medical field, how can you not be aware of the superbug?

      Besides, you would not be going to India for treatment would you. A more relevant issue in that case would be were the staff will be recruited from.

      Regardless,this is a great opportunity for Cayman.

  16. Marl Rhodes says:

    And I thought all we needed were more tacky shops with signs saying "You must visit this store" selling nasty little trinkets for $10.

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly! – Nasty little trinkets made in China…… or made anywhere but in Cayman!

      That’s the saddest thing. I wish that more local people would take true pride in their heritage and give the tourists an option to buy souvenirs made locally with love and with heart. Anything less is phony and just plain wrong!

      • Pit Bull says:

        "true pride in their heritage" such as?  Are we going to sell tourists thatch rope?  Cayman has a real tourist problem because it has virtually no history or culture of any interest to the foreign visitor – they don’t seem to be interested in hearing how great Caymanians were at catching and slaughtering turtles.