Medical care in Barbados

While most people visit Barbados for a relaxing holiday in the sun, the realities of life often come into play when medical attention is required. This was recently in the international spotlight when urgent medical attention was required from British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie’s son, Euan.

It is important to have a plan in case of a medical emergency during your stay in Barbados. Ambulances can often take an hour to reach your location, especially if you are on the busy west coast.

Barbados is fortunate to have highly trained medical staff, but those practitioners often lack access to state-of-the-art equipment. With few exceptions, the medical expertise and bedside manner of the doctors of Barbados is world class. It is highly recommended for those visiting Barbados to be proactive in selecting a line of action should the need arise.

What are your choices?

The government-owned Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) is Barbados’ only full-service hospital, with intensive care facilities, located just outside the capital, Bridgetown. It also has a reciprocal arrangement for UK nationals who are part of the National Health Service (NHS) programme, where you will be treated and cared for in a public ward. Please note that QEH is often busy and the wait can be long and sometimes frustrating if your medical needs are not addressed immediately. Phone 436-6450 or 511 for emergencies.

FMH Emergency Medical Clinic is a private accident and emergency clinic. Located in Belleville, St. Michael, this facility provides x-rays, MRI, and care for serious but not life-threatening injuries. FMH is open from 8 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. and will handle most emergencies or refer patients to the QEH if necessary. Phone 228-6120.

BayView Hospital, a privately owned facility with seven private rooms and four four-bed semi-private rooms, has been operating since 1989. BayView Hospital is located on the outskirts of Bridgetown and in close proximity to many leading hotels. -emergency medical care in various fields including cardiology, dentistry, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynaecology, ophthalmology, orthopedic surgery, plastic surgery and urology. However, you must be admitted under the specific care of a doctor who has authorization rights in this hospital. Call 436 5446 or visit their website BayViewHospital.com.bb for more information.

A new state-of-the-art, privately owned facility has opened its doors on the West Coast – Sandy Crest Medical Center in Sunset Crest, St. James. This state-of-the-art complex offers 24-hour comprehensive emergency and non-emergency care, x-rays, ultrasounds, CT technology (by the end of the year), access to an ambulance service, 24-hour access to the pharmacy, as well as an asthma bay. This emergency care clinic has employed the services of five of the island’s leading emergency care practitioners, one for each service. Call 419-4911 or visit their website SandyCrest.net (under construction) for more information.

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The island has two private ambulance services, Island Care Ambulance (246) 435 9425 and Get Help Ambulance Service (246) 438 4357, and the QEH Ambulance Service (246) 436 6450 or 511, all of which are based in the Bridgetown area. However, there is a QEH ambulance service out of Arch Hall fire station in St. Thomas to serve the west/north coast of the island. In extreme cases, patients are airlifted to Canada or the US.