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Old 3rd October 2011, 11:09 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Singapore medical tourism booming

Singapore medical tourism booming

By Vimita Mohandas
Posted: 02 October 2011 2018 hrs


SINGAPORE: Tourism receipts from medical travellers last year hit an estimated S$940 million, a jump of about S$200 million compared to the year before.

In 2009, S$732 million in tourism receipts were generated from medical travellers.

Some hospitals have expressed optimism this figure would increase further.

Currently, it sees some 8,000 patients a year, of whom about 90 per cent are foreign patients.

One of the foreign patients was Setiawan Djody, who was listed by the Rolling Stones as one of Asia's top guitarists.

But his rockstar status took a plunge after he suffered from liver cirrhosis due to excessive alcohol-consumption.

In 2009, he sought treatment at the Asian Centre for Liver Diseases & Transplantation (ACLDT).

It was through word-of-mouth and the centre's track record that made Singapore his choice destination.

"There is an integrated system in Singapore. The hospital, the liver centre, (medical) facilities and infrastructure. There's also a good airport," Mr Setiawan said.

"The quality is very good. I've been in hospitals in New York and Japan. But in Singapore, it is my home (as there are) Indonesians, Indians and Chinese."

A liver transplant package at the centre can set a patient back by S$300,000.

This is considerably more expensive compared to treatments offered in India, Thailand and Indonesia.

But despite its high costs, medical travellers still choose Singapore as it is a trusted medical hub in the region.

The ACLDT at Gleneagles Hospital said it expects to see 15 to 20 per cent more medical tourists in the next two to three years.

ACLDT transplant surgeon Tan Kai Chah said: "The services we provide are very high end and demands a great deal of expertise and therefore most of the time, the patients who come to us are very well heeled and can afford the treatment.

"There is a huge concentration of specialised medical expertise here more so than any other countries in this part of the world.

"If you look at Singapore, the number of hospitals that are JCI-accredited is very high in proportion.

In the World Health Organisation's last world health report on health systems, Singapore was ranked sixth out of 191.

It was also the only Asian country apart from Japan that made it to the top 10.

However, some medical concierges here have said there is still room for growth.

Medi-Connect Singapore executive director Syed Munir Iqbal said: "There are certain markets that we need to work on and we need support from hospitals and STB

"I think we are not very well represented within the GCC markets that will be like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE and Qatar. And these are markets where there is money and there is a need for this.

"There are certain roadblocks for these people to travel to the West. So it just makes very good sense for these people to come to Singapore for treatment.

"But having said that, there is a lot of competition that's happening within Asia. That is worrying because increasingly, people are looking at costs and the Singapore dollar is appreciating to an extent.

"But in terms of certain high-end surgical procedures, costs will not be a consideration. Having said that markets like India, Thailand and Malaysia are coming up very strongly in medical tourism."

Mr Syed said he believes medical travellers from these countries will continue to travel to Singapore for treatment as it is still cheaper to do so when compared with going to the US or the UK.

Source: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stori...156836/1/.html

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Old 3rd October 2011, 11:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Singapore medical tourism booming

Good news or Bad news??~

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