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Pattaya Daily News

06 June 2006 :: 15:06:46 pm 22046

The Low-Down On Medical Tourism, Health Tourism Or Health Holidays

Why You Can Trust The Medical Facilities And Medics In Thailand. Medical Tourism can be broadly defined as a health holiday with a provision for ‘cost effective’ private medical care in collaboration with the tourism industry for patients needing surgical and/or other forms of specialized treatment.
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Medical tourism is fast becoming a worldwide, multibillion-dollar industry profiting everybody – practitioners and patients. Medical Tourism combines wellness and healthcare with leisure and relaxation aimed at rejuvenating a

     Essentially, you are whisked away from your daily routine to a relaxed environment in an exotic location complete with accommodation, personal assistants and other amenities. So if you get your knee replaced at a hospital in Thailand, you can take a tour before or after the surgery and soak up a little bit of Southeast Asia culture, which can be a healing experience all by itself.

      Local operators are even collaborating with the hospitals in this enterprise. Thai Airways International, for example, has a package including medical check-ups as part of its Royal Orchid Holidays programme. There are many reasons for the increased popularity of medical tourism services:
• Exorbitant healthcare costs in industrialized nations
• Long waiting lists for surgery in countries offering socialized healthcare
• Ease and affordability of international travel
• Favourable currency exchange rates in foreign countries resulting in low cost surgery
• Rapidly improving technology and standards of care in many countries
• Proven safety of healthcare in select foreign nations
• International accreditation of foreign hospitals
• U.S., U.K. and Australian board certified surgeons operating in select foreign countries

      Medical tourists have good cause to seek out care beyond the overpriced and litigation-hungry United States, for example. There even straightforward medical areas like dentistry and orthodontics are extortionately priced, while surgery and major operations can completely drain personal finances. And an estimated 43 million people are without health insurance and 120 million without dental coverage.

      Alternatively, in the UK where the public health-care system is so overburdened that it can take years to get needed care. The waiting period for a hip replacement can be a year or more, while in Bangkok, a patient can be in the operating room the morning, and in Pattaya, late morning or early afternoon. For many medical tourists, though, the real attraction is price. The cost of surgery in, Thailand, India or South Africa can be one-tenth of what it is in the United States or Western Europe, and sometimes even less. Knee replacement in Thailand, for example, with six days of physical therapy costs about one-fifth of what it would in the States. As for the future, some important trends guarantee that the market for medical tourism will continue to expand in the years ahead.

     By 2015, the health of the vast Baby Boom generation will have begun its slow, final decline, and, with more than 220 million Boomers in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, this represents a significant market for inexpensive, high-quality medical care. But why come to Thailand? Because it’s considered by many to be the global leader for medical tourism. Thousands of Americans and Europeans have been travelling to Thailand for decades seeking affordable world-class medical treatment, for both elective and non-elective procedures.

     Thailand also has a very large expatriate community from American and Europe that receive medical care from hundreds of private hospitals throughout the country. Thailand’s major hospitals and clinics are world class. And, at present, Thailand has more than 400 private hospitals distributed throughout the kingdom. In addition to having a highly advanced healthcare system, with state-of-the-art equipment, first-class modern facilities, it has an abundance of doctors with advanced medical degrees and board certifications from the US and Europe, (Bangkok’s Bumrundgrad hospital, for example, has more than 200 surgeons who are board-certified in the United States).

     Doctors and specialists can swiftly obtain patient records by satellite. Hospitals employ staff fluent in English and who have overseas training. Demand for their services from the middle East has even led to the hiring of Arabic-speaking personnel. Thailand’s specializations include, eye surgery, kidney dialysis, organ transplantation, major heart surgery and sex transformation. Additionally, a variety of cosmetic surgery options are available, as is cosmetic dentistry (laser teeth whitening, etc.) and laser sight correction. So why would you willingly spend what can cost ten times as much when you can make such savings by being treated and enjoying yourself , to boot, in Thailand?

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Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : PDN staff   Category : Health

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