As much as a quarter dozen medical schools are being expected to establish offices in the BVI, with some currently going through the process even now.
This was the latest update Premier Andrew Fahie gave during a media conference Wednesday afternoon, May 26.
“We see that if we can safely have about three medical schools at the most operating in the BVI at one time – not in the same disciplines, but in other areas – because, remember you have different types of medicine that you can have, fields of medicine that you can study in,” Premier Fahie said.
He said the administration hoped to ensure that any schools that were being established, would be affordable for locals to attend once they are given approval to be opened.
In Fahie’s words, he said government wants the institutions to “make facilities for our people of the Virgin Islands to attend the medical schools so that it won’t be as much expense to them”.
Meanwhile, the Premier refused to be drawn on whether the number of schools will be capped at three, given the small size of the territory.
He did, however, volunteer to ensure that the schools will be complementing each other in the services being offered. This, he said, is to avoid duplication or conflicts with the state-owned H. Lavity Stoutt Community College.
Other schools knocking at our door
In addition to the current medical school that was recently given provisional approval to begin operations by year-end, Fahie said there are other medical schools “knocking at our door” that are going through the process.
The Premier declined to say where the school will actually be located and deferred queries to Education Minister Natalio Wheatley.
He said all details about the medical school are expected to be revealed by the end of June.
Big economic gain projected
And while emphasising the expected revenue glut that will likely be brought to the territory as a result of the establishment of the medical schools, the Premier said the expected economic spinoff will be huge.
“We want to let persons know that the more of the [medical] schools that operate from here, we have to make sure that we understand the more apartments will be rented, more rental cars would be rented, or even purchase of cars, grocery stores – the economic spinoff is huge,” Premier Fahie said.
He continued: “We will have professionals that are on the ground now that are teaching at those medical schools that will be able to complement our medical professionals here.”
The Premier further said some of the professionals may even be likely skilled in areas where the BVI has not expanded its medical expertise and will be able to help “on the ground” to assist in emergencies and training sessions at the Dr D Orlando Smith Hospital.
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