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Published: February 12th 2009
Only very recently has the world seen a dramatic increase in the numbers of international travelers touring the globe for a different type of tourism objective. One of the most popular types to explode in popularity over the past few years is ‘medical tourism’, and this is where Thailand has really made her mark.
From just over 600,000 foreigners travelling to Thailand for medical treatment in 2002, an estimated 2 million are expected in 2009. This is a phenomenal number which makes medical tourism one of Thailand’s most important sources of foreign income.
It is extremely difficult to pin-point the exact reasons why Thailand has become a haven for those seeking medical treatment abroad, but what is obvious are the defining attractive factors.
First of all are the cost-saving & quality factors. Thailand boasts some of the world’s best health and wellness centers offering only the highest standards of both preventive and curative treatments. All can be had at a fraction of the cost of what one would pay back home in a Western country. Thailand is home to at least 30 hospitals which specialize in treating foreign patients at top international standards.
Amongst these leading hospitals are the internationally renowned Bangkok Hospital Medical Center, Samitivej and Bumrungrad hospitals. These three have been accredited by the most prestigious benchmark for medical treatment in the world, the Joint Commission International (JCI). These fine hospitals are closely followed by many other institutions which have been recognized by the international JCAHO and ISO standards. Then there is the technology aspect, many of Thailand’s top hospitals use only the latest state-of-the-art equipment to enhance their medical facilities and treatment.
Many of Thailand’s doctors have graduated and been trained at some of the most prestigious hospitals in the western world which include John Hopkins Center, Harvard and Mayo Clinic. Besides receiving some of the best treatment available anywhere in the world, patients are also able to enjoy flabbergasting savings. Savings of up to 90%! An example of this is a facelift - over there in the US, the national average cost is just over $5,000 while in Thailand it is under $1,000. In fact, an entire book could be written on cost of treatment comparisons.
In regards to actual treatments in Thailand, the popularity of cosmetic surgery has surged meteorically. Besides the above quoted face-lift, other extremely popular cosmetic procedures are breast and chin implants and ear, eye and nose surgery. Then of course, there is dentistry in Thailand; not just of high standards, the costs are extremely beneficial for the pocket. A simple example is a tooth extraction which costs around $10 in Thailand; that is in comparison to 5-10 times that price in Europe and the US. These are just basic cost-saving examples - the list goes on and on for all different types of medical treatment including cardiac, dental, orthopedic, therapies and check-ups. Away from that, Thailand’s best hospitals are able to offer impeccable spa and wellness service and the highly popular Healthy Living Club.
Thailand’s top hospitals are able to offer patients a wide variety of special packages personally designed to cater to the exact need and budget of every patient. At fantastic prices and standards, patients can enjoy the likes of either a 3-star, standard or royal room with all the moods and cons, while being serviced by multi-lingual staff who can give free consultation, insurance advice and even assist with visas.
Another impeccable factor concerning the top medical institutions in Thailand is the service. A country famed for its smile, patients can be rest-assured that they will receive only the best personalized service possible with outstanding doctor to patient ratios as low as 1:4.
Some of the praise for Thailand’s top hospitals and medical centers on the Internet is quite exceptional. Mr Ren Coppieters from Belgium who had a heart attack in Thailand had this to say about his stay at Samitivej Hospital “The care I received was on a very very high level and never seen before. My special thanks to my cardiologist, ophthalmologist and also due to the wonderful services of the nursing staff (it was because of them) I recovered very quickly”. Plenty more testimonials like this can be found on all the hospitals and centers websites.
With all that said, it can be assured that a trip to Thailand for medical reasons will be one of the most satisfying feelings in your life. Top-notch standards at penny-pinching prices while being able to enjoy Thailand’s world famous hospitality, beauty, culture and food; simply a must-try.
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