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Journal Article


Walters J, Fraser HS, Alleyne GA. West Indian Med. J. 1993; 42(1): 13-17.


Department of Medicine, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Barbados.


(Copyright © 1993, University of The West Indies)






This paper analyses data for 1990 culled from the medical records of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Barbados and examines the use of inpatient and emergency services by visitors to Barbados. The 473 visitors admitted represented 2.1% of all admissions. The records of 425 contained information on country of origin: 145 were from non-Caribbean and 280 from Caribbean countries. The distribution by country of non-Caribbean visitors was the same as that of regular tourist arrivals--the majority came from the USA. Canada and the UK. Caribbean visitors represented 14.4% of the tourists, but accounted for 65.9% of visitor admissions. Non-Caribbean visitors were 85.6% of tourists, but 34.1% of admissions. Young patients predominated among Caribbean, and older patients among non-Caribbean. Accidents, cardiovascular disease, alcohol-related illnesses and near drowning were commoner in the non-Caribbean visitors, while cancer and obstetrical/gynaecological problems were commoner in Caribbean visitors. Seven per cent of visitor admissions went to the Intensive Care Unit as against 0.15% of other patients. The average hospital stay of visitors was 11.7 days compared with 7.0 days for Barbadians. There were 898 visitors treated in the Accident and Emergency Department and the commonest problems were lacerations, abrasions and infections. The UK provided most of these patients. These data show that there is appreciable visitor use of the public health services. Non-Caribbean visitors use them because they fall ill on holiday, but many Caribbean visitors may come specifically for health care. The cost to the Barbadian health service is not insignificant: at the 1990 estimated bed-day cost of Bds$250, it represents a cost of Bds$1.1 million per annum to the Government for inpatient services alone, or 2% of total hospital costs.

Language: en


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