Medical Tourism cashes in on global $10.5 bln industry

Sri Lanka is beginning to look to the growing global medical tourism industry with at least one company signing up with the Seychelles authorities offering medical services in Colombo.

Medical Tourism, the new company headed by Jude Samaraweera who spoke with the Sunday Times said his company had facilitated an agreement with Hemas Hospitals and the Seychelles Health Ministry offering treatment for a number of cases.

The medical tourism industry today is beginning to grow and has a market value of US$10.5 billion in 2012 and is envisaged to becoming a $32.5 billion industry in 2019, according to a Reuters’ research report.

The company has brought down tourists for medical services provided in Colombo from the UAE and Bangladesh and is currently negotiating to bring down people from the Netherlands and Fiji as well.

In the Seychelles the government there provides free medical services to its nationals for treatments in bypass surgeries, cardio care, renal care, neurological care, fertility, orthopaedic, Ear Nose and Throat, and dental services, Mr. Samaraweera said.He noted that these patients who visit the country for medical purposes were given first preference at the relevant hospitals.

The Seychelles government would sponsor the patient including the air ticket but the person accompanying the patient would have to pay for their travel, he explained adding that at Medical Tourism they do take care of that person’s requirements as well.

They would be targeting about 50 patients per month adding that already they were receiving about five per month from the UAE, about three from Bangladesh that has been popularised through word of mouth.

In the UAE, Medical Tourism has signed up with the Amsa Clinic to provide these services for its patients.

It was noted that while most patients from the UAE accompanied by their relatives would prefer staying at hotels, the Bangladeshis were found mainly wanting to live in apartments.

The process involves obtaining all medical documents from the patient that would then be handed over to the local medical consultant who would then give his opinion based on the information provided, Mr. Samaraweera explained.

He said that then the patient would have to decide whether they should come down to Colombo for treatment or not and if the consultant requires them to carry out some laboratory tests again it would be upto the patient to have it done in their home country or here.

Medical Tourism would also look into the accompanying person’s cost and travel as well, he said adding that some prefer staying in a self catering apartment.

It was found that patients would generally stay for about seven days and at times the company would be looking after the patient’s post treatment if they require staying for longer or the company could even arrange travel out of Colombo.

The hospital’s medical coordinator would decide on which consultant would be best for the patient, Mr. Samaraweera said.

Post treatment, the patients would be given advice on their dietary requirements by a dietician recommended by the hospital.

Mr. Samaraweera noted that they would even assist patients in getting their tests referred to the relevant doctors even after three months and even send any required medicines.

Sri Lanka’s main private hospitals were said to have the relevant certifications except for one to remain recognised internationally to provide its services to these type of patients visiting the country while also wanting to holiday during their stay, he explained.

In fact some visitors would holiday while awaiting their test results from full body screenings carried out in Colombo and in this respect Mr. Samaraweera noted they would provide tour operator services as well. This was mostly found among the European traveller who would look at convenience during their travel and tour of the country.

Source : http://epaper.dailymirror.lk/epaper/viewer.aspx

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