Trinidad’s Premiere Private Hospital
The Surgi-Med Clinic Co. Ltd., previously known as the San Fernando Medical Centre was established in 1999 after being bought over by Dr. Anirudh Mahibir. The original owner began facing financial issues and decided to sell his property to Dr. Mahibir shortly thereafter.
After Dr. Mahibir took over, he realized it did not make economic sense to turn the property into a hospital and decided to turn it into a private medical center instead. He soon expanded the center by purchasing the land adjacent to it and adding on to the previous buildings, this allowed the team to bring in more doctors who were not only renting offices but paying fees to use the center’s facilities.
The clinic kept expanding with the addition of a Laminar Flow Operating Theatre, several more private rooms, delivery and nursery rooms, an intensive care unit, a physiotherapy department and more doctors’ offices. The clinic has grown to become 4 times its original size, and is now considered to be the most respected private hospital in the south of the island.
The clinic provides patients with the latest in cardiac surgery, angioplasty as well as the fastest CT scanner in the island. “We are proud to say that we can offer some of the best service to our patients on the island at a very competitive price,” says Mahibir.
The Centre itself is a full service, private hospital in San Fernando, Trinidad. The high trained, qualified and experienced staff along with the clinic’s modern medical technology has made it one of the most significant hospitals on the island.
Situated on the corner of Chacon and Penitence Street, the center is located close to the main transportation hub of San Fernando.
The team has slowly outgrown the facilities, which has led to continuous expansion over the years, making it comparable to several other larger, more established hospitals on the island. “What makes Surgi-Med the best private hospital is the wide range of services we offer. I took it upon myself to see what our city needed and brought that to my center,” says Dr. Mahibir.
Focused on Patients not Finances
Dr. Mahibir states that his prime objective at the clinic is to ensure all his patients get the services they need and leave happy, even if it means not paying their bills. “We have over 100,000 of debt, but we don’t take people to court because we know many of them just cannot afford it,” says the doctor.
This approach is one followed by few, who just don’t have the capital or the resources to forgive debts of patients. This has meant that Surgi-med has had a relatively slow and incremental growth pattern, with slow investment due to the Dr. Mahibir’s aversion to credit. Not relying on the bank has mean that the team can only expand as much they can afford, which has allowed the clinic to grow organically over time.
“In medicine it takes time to build a reputation and generate revenue. You first have to gain the people’s trust by showcasing your clinic’s services and reliability.
Dr. Mahibir understands that in order to remain a major player in the industry, he and his team do have to focus on finances in some regard, which have led to the further expansion of the clinic in order to oversee a greater capacity of both doctors and patients. “More volume equals more revenue; smaller hospitals just don’t have the same capabilities as larger hospitals,” says Dr. Mahibir.
Overcoming Serious Challenges
Though Dr. Mahibir and his team have invested in the latest technology the medical world has to offer and has a state of the art medical center in his city, he finds that the real issue in Trinidad is lack of highly trained doctors.
In what has been called a ‘brain drain’, the brightest and best doctors do their schooling abroad in the United States, Europe or Canada and end up staying there for long-term. This is mainly due to the fact that Trinidad does not have the necessary educational infrastructure to train doctors who wish to go into specialized fields says Dr. Mahibir. “We lost around 50% of the doctors who go abroad,” he says.
The main reasons for local doctors to look for employment outside the borders of Trinidad are better salaries, better equipment and an ability to practice their profession the way it should be says Mahibir. “Our infrastructure is not as advanced as it is abroad, and many doctors want to be able to practice their profession to the fullest and make the most out of their education,” he says.
That being said, the other 50% of doctors do come home to Trinidad, for the love of their country, their family and their people.
A Bright Future
With increasing pressure on government hospitals, Dr. Mahibir predicts that the future will oversee the creation of a hybrid medical system where both public and private hospitals work together.
With a majority of the population depending on free government healthcare, the government has not been able to cope with the demand. This has led to a discussion between government and the private sector to come up with a solution that will best suit the people of Trinidad.