Open letter to EU Commission: Privatisation of EU-funded hospital in St Lucia

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Dear Madame Vestager,

We do not want or accept privatisation of the hospital built by the EU in Saint Lucia

The European Union funded design, construction and equipping of the Owen King EU Hospital in Saint Lucia between the years 2006-2016, the hospital is now complete and the new government of Saint Lucia has decided to privatize the hospital by handing it over the a group of Indian businessmen who are operating a medical facility in the Cayman Islands.

The hospital is an ultra-modern treatment and care facility, and was funded by the EU to the tune of EC$167 million. The new hospital is the largest infrastructural project ever executed by the European Union in the Eastern Caribbean.

To date, the citizens of Saint Lucia, specifically those who are marginalized, vulnerable and from poor communities, stand against the privatization of this very special gift as it will deny about 70 – 80% of the population from accessible medical care. We have advocated instead for increased taxes or national insurance payments to keep the hospital public but the government of Saint Lucia has failed to heed our call.

We are now appealing to the EU to act on behalf of the citizens of Saint Lucia so we may not be deprived of health care and handed what is essentially a death sentence should we fall ill.

Catherine Sealys

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1 COMMENT

  1. The purchase of the new facility by Health City Cayman Islands (www.healthcitycaymanislands.com) would mean a huge boast to the St. Lucian economy because it is a very successful company in the rapidly growing medical tourism market.

    There were an estimated 11 million medical tourists worldwide in 2014, with 1.2 million travelling from the U.S. The worldwide medical tourism market is growing at an annual estimated rate of 15 to 25%, fuelled by rising medical costs and access to care issues.

    America medical costs are prohibitively expense for those who are uninsured and of modest means. Medical treatment in Canada and Europe often means long and life-threatening waits for many forms of treatment. Accordingly, wealthy people have been flocking for first-class medical treatment to Third World countries like India and Cuba for years.

    Owned and run by the goverment, the new OKEU would always be a big finacial drain on the economy. Run as an efficient private-sector company, it is bound to generate millions of dollars of revenue for the cash-strapped St. Lucian economy thereby allowing the government to provide first-class medical care to the poorest of citizens.

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