Medic extols Singapore medical tourism


Singapore welcomed over 400,000 medical tourism patients from all over the world in 2006, according to one of the country's medics.

According to Dr Joseph Yap, over half of the clientele of some of the nation's hospitals are from overseas, travelling to the country for anything from simple illnesses to cancer treatment or bone marrow transplants.

Singapore has been pouring investment into the sector, but Dr Yap insisted that the main incentive behind the nation's investment in medical tourism is not to make money, but to boost its medical infrastructure for the benefit of its own residents.

"We make more money through wealth management, manufacturing, IT services and everything else. But this is because we want to look after our own people," he explained.

Many tourists are attracted by the fact that treatment is far cheaper than in their home country, with knee replacement surgery being a prime example.

"If you were looking at more serious surgeries, for example a knee replacement, in the US it would cost $40,000. In Singapore, it would be about $9,000. So it is maybe about one quarter of the price," Dr Yap told the World Health Care Blog.

There are plenty of incentives for travelling to Singapore for medical tourism, including the exotic surroundings, modern facilities and high standard of professional training.

But Dr Yap had one further reason for UK patients to choose Singapore. "Those of you coming from the UK might be interested to know that they have English soccer on TV on a regular basis," he added.

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