Medical tourism is an area the government is looking to capitalize on, as facilities such as the renovated Lautoka Hospital and the new Ba Hospital will introduce new medical and health services.
At the 2022/2023 pre-budget consultation in Lautoka, Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the international community could access quality health care in Fiji.
“The reason we also chose Lautoka Hospital is that we also believe in medical tourism,” he said.
He said that when these services are offered here, which none of the other Pacific Island countries have, they will come to Fiji.
“So we need the international airport nearby because it makes it easier for them.” He said Fiji’s tourism sector would also have access to quality health care.
“In Australia, and it emerged last week that the waiting time at a public hospital in Victoria, Melbourne was 24 hours. “Why? Because there is a shortage of nurses. Many people do not want to enter the medical field after COVID-19.
“Elective surgeries in Australia before the pandemic (the wait time) were around two years in a public hospital.
“So if we have Aspen Medical here in Australia running our hospital and if we can get these elective surgeries done here in Fiji, that would be great.
“They can come here, stay in a hotel after the operation and that’s a business for the hospitality industry.”
He added that the elderly 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, a lot of people would be interested in setting up homes for the aged.
“It creates investment and jobs for us.”