Healthcare practitioners, specialists and professionals in the Cayman Islands provide services in public and private healthcare to three distinct demographics:
- Expatriates and
- Medical Tourists
Services offered then fall into one of three subcategories: pre-acute care, acute care, or post-acute care.
- Pre-Acute Care – this consists of Public Health Services, Primary Care, Pharmacy Services, Laboratory Services and Diagnostic Imaging Services.
- Acute Care – includes Urgent Care, Accident or Emergency Care, Inpatient General Hospitals and Medical Tourism.
- Post-Acute Care – more specialist services, including Home Care, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Facilities, Long-Term Care and Nursing Homes, Palliative and Hospice Care.
Although on-Island care is available across these areas, residents often travel to Florida, USA for speciality treatments or assessments for severe conditions (upon referral). It is also not uncommon for residents to be airlifted to Florida after being severely injured, being referred for complicated surgery or seeking treatment for premature infants.
Compared to other jurisdictions, the Cayman Islands have relatively good standing when it comes to investigating the population’s overall health. The Health Insurance Commission (HIC) prioritise compliance with the Health Insurance Laws and Regulations, meaning that the HIC can issue fines to employers, insurers and more if they were to find evidence of non-compliance with such regulations, which includes the existence of unregistered health professionals, employers failing to effect and continue health insurance payments, and other similar breaches. For instance, The Health Insurance Act (2013 Revision) was issued to order that every person, Caymanian or otherwise, needs to be covered by at least the basic Standard Health Insurance Contract (SHIC), whether that be on an individual or company-basis. The Cayman Islands National Insurance Company (CINICO), a government-owned insurer, provides coverage for pensioners, civil servants, veterans, seafarers and their families. Although there is the issue of many refraining from retiring in Cayman due to lack of after-retirement health insurance benefits, benefits for impoverished or destitute residents are widely provided.In terms of the health of the general population, the Compendium of Statistics (2021) reported that Cayman has an average life expectancy of 82.3, where males are expected to live for approximately 80 years, and females 85 years. This ranks the Cayman Islands in 14th place among some of the highest life expectancy rates in the world.
However, challenges loom in the form of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and mental health concerns. The HSA is actively tackling these issues through various initiatives, not least to gain a clearer picture of the problem through through the 2023 STEPS Heath survey.
- Life expectancy: 82.3 years.
- Infant mortality: 9.4 per 1,000 live births.
- No maternal mortality
- 9% of adolescents use tobacco in some form
- Obesity affects 35% of the population.
- Diabetes prevalence stands at 12%.
- Hypertension affects 30% of residents.
- Cardiovascular disease mortality rate: 107.2 per 100,000.
- Cancer mortality rate: 75.2 per 100,000.
- Mental health issues: 20% of the population reports symptoms.
2022-2023 Healthcare Milestones
Advancements in the Cayman Islands' Healthcare landscape include, but are not limited to:
- Expansion of Public Health Services: The Health Services Authority (HSA) in the Cayman Islands continued its commitment to improving healthcare access by developing the Smith Road Medical Centre, which now houses various new clinics and specialist services.
- Urgent Care Enhancement: A new Urgent Care walk-in clinic was opened at the main hospital campus, providing a dedicated space for those seeking immediate medical attention and allowing the Accident and Emergency (A&E) staff to focus on critical emergencies.
- Improved Ambulance Services: To enhance emergency response, the A&E unit acquired six additional ambulances, improving their ability to reach patients in need promptly.
- Expanded Dialysis Services: The West Bay Clinic saw the establishment of a new dialysis unit, accompanied by the recruitment of more personnel and a non-emergency shuttle service, significantly improving the patient experience for those requiring dialysis.
- Cayman Islands Molecular Biology Laboratory (CIMBL): CIMBL introduced diagnostic genome sequencing, offering advanced medical treatments locally, reducing time and cost associated with sending samples overseas, and eliminating the need for expensive medical travel.
- Telemedicine Robot: The Little Cayman Clinic incorporated a telemedicine robot to provide patients and staff with face-to-face interactions with remote physicians, enhancing the healthcare experience.
- Sustainability Initiatives: The HSA is investing approximately CI$2 million in green technologies to reduce energy consumption and carbon footprint, including energy-efficient windows, a solar photovoltaic system, advanced chillers, LED lighting, and an on-site oxygen plant, benefiting both the environment and patient care.
- Private Sector Advancements: Health City Cayman Islands construction of new US$100 million super-speciality hospital in Camana Bay is all but complete. It features specialized care centers, robotic-assisted surgery, and a state-of-the-art Radiation Oncology Centre, solidifying the Cayman Islands as a medical tourism destination. In October 2023 a patient treatment partnership was entered into with the renowned US-based Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
- Mental Health Support: In response to growing mental health needs, the Cayman Islands saw the opening of Alex's Place, a 24/7 mental health hub for children and adolescents, providing immediate care in partnership with the Alex Panton Foundation.
- Poinciana Residential Mental Health Facility: A Ministry of Health & Wellness project in East End, this facility aims to complement existing mental health services by offering therapeutic residential care to individuals in the community. Expected to open in late 2023, this facility marks a significant step forward in addressing mental health needs in the Cayman Islands.
Key Healthcare Statistics at a Glance
- The leading cause of death in the Cayman Islands in 2022 was cardiovascular disease, followed by cancer and accidental injuries
- The number of health professionals at the George Town Hospital increased from 664 to 705, and at Faith Hospital in Cayman Brac from 54 to 63
- Immunisation coverage for children aged 0-24 months reached a record high for all vaccines in 2022
- Outpatient and casualty visits at government health facilities decreased to 116,035 in 2022 from 125,766 in 2021
- Visits to district clinics dropped significantly from 39,228 in 2021 to 29,992 in 2022
- Ambulance calls increased notably from 8,174 in 2021 to 10,528 in 2022