Medical tourism at Singapore hospitals
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Medical tourism at Singapore hospitals

Medical tourism at Singapore hospitals
Singapore is another major player in the Asian medical tourism market – hardly surprising, given the city state’s reputation for sophisticated facilities and advanced technology, not to mention safety and efficiency. Critics say costs are 30 to 50 percent higher than those in Thailand, but even so they remain appreciably lower than in the US and the UK.
In 2003, Singapore created Singapore Medicine (www.singaporemedicine.com), a government-industry partnership to develop Singapore as an international medical hub, not only for medical travellers but also research, conventions and education. According to SingaporeMedicine director Dr Jason Yap, Singapore received 374,000 healthcare visitors in 2005 and healthcare services ranged from the very high-tech (like transplants) to the standard (hip replacements) to the “medical fringe” (including medical spas). Singapore has a quarter of all JCI-accredited facilities in Asia.
Dr Yap says people visit Singapore for healthcare for many reasons, from “touristy” add-ons to leisure or business trips (for example, health screening or medical spas), to specific procedures (such as knee or hip replacement or cancer treatment), to emergency evacuations after natural or man-made disasters.
 
Grab a surgery and a holiday in India
eMenders (www.emenders.com) is a group of more than 50 specialists based at the Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre in Singapore, covering more than 25 speciality areas. All the doctors have internationally recognised qualifications and have received their speciality training, or additional training, at leading institutions in those countries.
According to eMenders chief executive officer Moonlake Lee, it is important to differentiate between the terms “medical tourism” and “medical travel.” Most eMenders patients fall into the category of medical travel (they travel to Singapore primarily because of medical reasons). While some patients also come for medical services because it is incidental to their trip to Singapore, people in this category mainly go in for elective, cosmetic or minimally invasive procedures, such as dermatology, dental, general health screening and “aesthetic” procedures.
While most of eMenders’ international patients are either Indonesians or expatriates based in Indonesia, a “significant number” also come from Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan and Bangladesh, says Ms Lee. The fields most popular with the group’s international patients are cardiology, urology, gastroenterology, dermatology, orthopaedic surgery and neurosurgery. Many patients also come to seek second opinions on treatments or on diagnoses made by their doctors back home.
The Mount Elizabeth Hospital is owned by the Parkway Group, which also owns the East Shore and Gleneagles Hospitals in Singapore, and a network of hospitals in Malaysia, India and Brunei. Patients come to these hospitals for treatment from as far as China, Vietnam, India, the US and the UK. Parkway’s International Patient Assistance Centre (www.imrc.com.sg) helps patients to access the right channel of expertise and helps with travel and other arrangements.