barbados healthcare system

Learn about the Barbados Healthcare System & Medical Insurance Options for Expats

Famous for its dazzling beaches, Barbados is more than just white sands and turquoise seas. It’s capital, Bridgetown, is a UNESCO World Heritage. It’s no wonder, Barbados is a tropical haven for numerous expats and retirees. Apart from the fantastic beaches, this island nation also boasts a robust healthcare system. Its healthcare system is one of the best in the Caribbean.

Expats can obtain various advanced medical care; however, private healthcare can be costly. Ideally, it would help if you opted for international health insurance that suits your lifestyle and budget. Here’s what you need to know about the Barbados healthcare system.

Overview of Healthcare

This tropical paradise offers universal healthcare cover to its citizens through a strong network of medical facilities and hospitals. Furthermore, the islanders enjoy easy access to a wide range of hospitals in the region. The universal healthcare scheme is funded through taxation. Patients with chronic illnesses are entitled to get medicines for free through the Barbados Drug Service.

The Barbados healthcare system is robust, but obtaining highly specialized treatments and rehab services may not be easy. Within the public and private sectors, Barbados is home to four primary categories of medical facilities. They include hospitals, polyclinics, specialist services, and other specialized facilities like five geriatric hospitals for older people care and a group of facilities for childcare. More health information about Barbados is available at CDC.

How the Barbados Healthcare System Works for Expats?

Healthcare and health insurance should be your primary concerns if you want to move to Barbados. No matter how young or healthy you are, obtaining international health insurance is essential. Furthermore, this will help you save a lot of money, usually incurred on private healthcare services. After arriving in the country, you should seek the advice of an experienced local doctor and know where to go in case of a medical emergency. Also, get the required vaccinations for common diseases in Barbados. 

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Public Healthcare

Every Barbadian citizen is entitled to universal health care. Moreover, the healthcare standard in the country is very high, and the facilities are easily accessible to all residents. For example, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital is the main Government hospital comprising of 600 beds. Specialized medical care offered by this hospital includes radiology, pediatrics, obstetrics, plastic surgery, and many more. Barbados also boasts of eight government Polyclinics that provide free treatments for various minor illnesses. 

Private Healthcare

This country invests more in public and private health care than any other Caribbean nation and the Central American region. About 65% of healthcare facilities fall under the public healthcare system. The remaining 35% fall within the private sector. However, it is essential to note that over 80% of the private healthcare facilities may ask you to pay fees upfront.

Furthermore, Barbados has two fully equipped, privately owned medical facilities, namely Sandy Crest and FMH Emergency Medical Clinic. Patients can expect a five-star service at Sandy Crest, located on the country’s West Coast. FMH Emergency Medical Clinic in Bridgetown also provides comprehensive world-class services.

Emergency Medical Services in Barbados

The emergency numbers in Barbados are as follows: Fire: 311

Police: 211 or (246) 430-7100

Ambulance: 511

The waiting time for emergency services in public hospitals is usually longer than private clinics. You can expect quicker and better emergency treatment in private hospitals. It would be best if you also opted for an emergency medical evacuation insurance plan during your stay in Barbados. This will assist you in getting evacuated to a nearby country for better emergency treatments if required.  

Medicines and Pharmacies

Pharmacies in this island destination are reliable. The quality of medicines dispensed in the pharmacies is of international standard. Furthermore, most pharmacists are professionals. Over-the-counter medications are readily available in pharmacies across Barbados. You don’t need a prescription from a doctor to procure medicines in the pharmacies of Barbados.

Best Private International Medical Insurance Plans for Expats in Barbados

Expats and people with acute health issues must opt for international health insurance before or as soon as you move to Barbados. Different insurance providers have comprehensive policies. Choose popular insurance policies from Cigna Global and Allianz International. Ideally, it would help if you opted for those insurance plans that offer medical evacuation in you are in a country that can’t adequately treat you locally.

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