Medical Tourism Gaining Popularity

Singapore is set to maintain its top position for medical care in the region, especially for patients from ASEAN member countries. Therefore, numerous patients from Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and India go to Singapore for quality medical care should it not be available in their home countries.

Singapore also has plenty of highly competent medical staff, professional doctors, nurses and so forth with the newest diagnostic and healthcare facilities. The cost is lower, or at least the same as in one’s home country, but with more professional service.

What is unique is that patients are treated more like tourists. A patient can make a reservation via the hospital international medical service center from his or her home country and have free a consultation about his or her sickness or health complaint so that he or she can book the appropriate clinic. An estimate of cost is also provided before departure.

There is not much difference between the facilities at Singapore government hospitals and private hospitals. They are extremely clean and the design is modern and minimalist. Stores selling garments, toys and cosmetics as well a cafeteria are usually located on the ground floor.

The government hospitals are divided into two network groups: Singapore Health Services (SingHealth) and National Healthcare Group (NHG). Singapore General Hospital, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Changi General Hospital and National Cancer Centre Singapore are under the SingHealth network, while National University Hospital, Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Alexandra Hospital are under the NHG network.

The capability of medical teams and the high quality of equipment are also equal. Johns Hopkins Singapore International Medical Center (JHSIMC), for example, as the first Johns Hopkins hospital established outside the US, is dedicated to maintaining Johns Hopkins tradition in its superior research, education and medical and healthcare.

The medical team of JHSIMC jointly works to fulfill the patients’ physical and psychological requirements and provides the highest standard of oncology service for both locals as well as international patients. Established in 2000 as a sophisticated oncology center at National University of Singapore, JHSIMC is now located in one of the buildings of the Tan Tock Seng Hospital. It has 12 beds for chemotherapy and can accept 30 inpatients for medical care.

JHSIMC also provides consultation and chemotherapy for outpatients as well as consultation for internal diseases and other specialized medical services. It also handles various types of cancers, including breast, ovarian, uterine, lung, throat, intestinal and renal cancer and lymphoma. (Burhan Abe)

The Jakarta Post, April 18, 2010

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