Medical Tourism to Thailand is Booming!
Medical tourism to Thailand is booming!, the reasons for this are very easy to understand:
* speed of receiving non-essential treatments – in most developed countries there are extended waiting times for low-priority treatments.
* healthcare in ALL Western countries is very expensive, in some countries its downright exhorbitant!. Both of these reasons have lead to a whole new type of tourism never even dreamed of just a few years ago.
The term “Medical Tourism” actually means “the practice of traveling across international borders to obtain specialized health care”. It’s not a completely new phenomenon, back in the 18th century particularly in England & France several “spa towns” sprung up with visitors traveling many miles & from many different countries to visit them mainly for the recuperative mineral waters & treatments.
In 2007 alone, some 750,000 Americans went overseas for their medical treatments as the cost of a surgical procedure could be as low as 1/10 of its cost in the US, conservative estimates for medical torism place the potential growth for this type of treatment as up to 100% increase year on year for the next decade!.
Thailand is fast becoming a Medical Tourism destination not only because procedures are cheap but because Thai doctors are highly qualified. Most doctors have specialized training and are licensed from either the USA or UK.
The hospitals in Bangkok , Phuket,Pattaya & Chiang Mai are new and have the very latest medical equipment. Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok has been consistently praised for its superb medical treatment that is of the highest international standard. It has been accredited by the US based The Joint Commission, a non-profit organization that accredits health care facilities the world over.
Thailand’s medical tourism in 2009 is forecast to attract an estimated 2m foreign visitors with gross revenue of just under US$2 billion, making the average cost per visitor in the region of US$1,000.
A procedure in Thailand, for example a knee-replacement, would only cost 20% of its counterpart in the USA. Treatments for medical tourists in Thailand include: cosmetic, organ transplants, cardiac, and orthopedic treatments,dental,cardiac surgeries & the full gambit of spa & wellness treaments.
There are also Medical Tourist Packages too for physical and mental therapies. A patient who had a coronary bypass at the Bumrungrad Hospital spent a total of US$12,000. The same operation would have cost him US$100,000 back at home in the USA.
There are many highly Accredited Medical tourism websites that cover Thailand. All you have to do is send your medical records and from there on, the agent would take care of all your travel and medical documents and itinerary.
Medical tourism packages are inclusive of air fare, the medical or dental procedure and vacation time at the destination country. This is the usual options of medical tourism patients to minimize infections and any complications directly after the procedure.
In 2006 a reported 400,000 foreigners were treated at the Bangkok Bumrungrad Hospital alone. This number is pretty staggering and you are left to wonder if the local Thai population could still be accommodated in these “specialist” hospitals?.
First rate hospitals that do medical tourism are expensive. Only well heeled & affluent Thai’s could afford such hospitals and medical services, these hospitals always attract the very brightest doctors & surgeons, and given the choice who would want to work in the far flung provinces in Thailand?.
The dilemma in Thailand is that most Thai doctors receive grants from the government for their university fees and specialized training, but,the same doctors have no obligation to return the favor by working in government hospitals and medical centers when they qualify.
The growth of medical tourism in Thailand is a definite boost to its tourism industry and its economy. The wonderful and highly qualified doctors and healthcarepractitioners are doing wonders in meeting the needs of foreigner patients.
The main issue with medical tourism in Thailand is that it does not ACTUALLY benefit the majority of low income Thai’s, as they cannot afford to enjoy the same high quality medical expertise and services as the expats who seek medical treatment in THEIR country.
Westerners are coming to Thailand as a solution to their own medical problems. Isn’t it however ironic that for a country that is recognized as a prime medical tourism destination, its “locals” have such inadequate medical options?.