In late July, civic centres in North Side, East End and Bodden Town were filled with men and women ready to sign up for jobs in the proposed Shetty hospital as the project edges closer to commencing.
Developers of the project say it will break ground on Monday, 27 August.
Applicants signed up for jobs on the construction site of the hospital and related facilities in High Rock in East End, as well as for jobs in the hospital once its first 140-bed phase become operational, slated to be as early as next year once the estimated 14 months of construction work is done.
In all, 265 people applied for construction jobs and more than 100 people applied for healthcare or administration jobs at the informational/job fair meetings hosted by the project’s local partner Gene Thompson, who revealed that the new hospital project had been renamed and rebranded “Health City Cayman Islands” from the original name of “Narayana Cayman University Medical Centre”.
At the meeting in East End, there were 51 applications for healthcare or office jobs and 150 for construction jobs; in North Side 40 people applied for construction work and 22 for healthcare or adminstrative work; while in Bodden Town, 41 applied for office jobs and 75 for construction work.
Thompson explained that the main contractor on the project, Clan Construction, and its subcontractors would be hiring between 200 and 300 workers for the construction of the first phase of the project, which would cost $50 million, including $15 million for local labour.
The developers say the hospital will eventually house 2,000 beds.
In its first phase, according to an economic impact report by accounting firm Grant Thornton before the deal to set up the hospital was announced by Dr. Devi Shetty and the Cayman Islands government in April 2010, Thompson said it was estimated that project would attract 70 medical tourists a day to Grand Cayman.
Each patient is expected to be accompanied by at least one other person and the average stay of a medical tourism patient is nine and a half days. Extrapolating on that number, the 2,000-bed hospital, in 15 years, would attract 2,880 people, including 1,440 patients, a day or approximately 1 million people a year, Thompson said.
The impending groundbreaking will mark the physical start of a project that has run into several delays since it was first announced in early 2010. At the press conference to announce the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Indian cardiologist Shetty and the Cayman Islands Government in April 2010, Shetty said it was likely the first phase of the hospital would already be open by now, breaking ground in January 2011 and operational by mid-2012.
That projection proved optimistic.
Before the first sod could be turned on the project, the government had to pass or amend a number of laws to pave the way for the hospital. These included the Health Practice Law, enabling medical staff trained in India and other overseas countries to practise in Cayman; the Tax Concessions (Amendment) Law, which exempts companies from potential future taxes and the Medical Negligence (Non-Economic Damages) (Amendment) Law, which caps pain and suffering damages awarded in medical malpractice cases at $500,000.
The introduction of legislation legalising the donation and transplantation of human organs in the Cayman Islands was another stipulation of the agreement. According to Minister of Health Mark Scotland last month, that legislation has been drafted and is being reviewed.
Dr. Shetty’s US$2 billion hospital project, will cater to patients from the United States, the Caribbean and Latin America and also offer tertiary care to patients in Cayman.
The developers say the project will also include an assisted living facility to appeal to American baby boomers who are now at retirement age, a medical research centre, an education facility or programme,