16 Aug 2010

Health insurers in Fiji sending patients to India before NZ or Australia

6:24 am on 16 August 2010

Health insurance companies in Fiji are sending patients to India, rather than Australia and New Zealand, as surgical and medical treatment costs escalate.

The Managing Director of Fiji Care Insurance, Peter McPherson, says the devaluation of the Fiji dollar last year pushed claim costs through the roof.

He says elective cardiac or cancer surgery in India can be done for a third of the cost of that in Australia.

"Hundreds here from Fiji go to India for surgery or treatment of some description. Whether insured, or whether the government sends them, or whether they do it privately, it doesn't matter. India is one of the first choice for medical here, all walks of life, because they're cheaper and they're very professional."

Peter McPherson says any cases needing extremely urgent treatment are still sent to Australia or New Zealand due to travel time and the lack of direct flights from Fiji to India.