Thai Holidays for Health
Global travellers have long been discovering the benefits of seeking medical help in foreign lands. Many of the world's traditional medicines and alternative health practices, such as massage and acupuncture have now been incorporated into modern day international healthcare schemes, but in recent years a boom in medical tourism has created a whole new market in countries known for their affordable, quality facilities and well trained doctors.
For some medical tourists, the main draw is the option to combine medical procedures with a relaxing holiday, whether to recover from the treatment or simply to enjoy the beach, the countryside or even some extended shopping time. Access to information online allows fast, convenient access to a vast range of options, making medial tourism both affordable and convenient. The emergence of internationally accredited hospitals with the latest medical technology and the widespread availability of fully trained and certified physicians overseas have added credibility to various destinations and with a wide choice of cosmetic treatments also offered at attractive prices, the concept of combining a a vacation with an operation has swiftly taken hold in a number of countries, particularly in Southeast Asia.
Leading the Field
Thailand has gained a global recognition in the last 5 years as an appealing and credible medical tourism destination. The Thai private healthcare system is known for its high quality, with a number of internationally accredited hospitals not only in Bangkok, but also in the country's popular tourist locations that offer all manner of medical treatments, ranging from dental and cosmetic surgery to complex operations and transplants.
According to figures released by Thailand's Department of Export Promotion and also the Health Service Support Department, around 1.5 million international visitors received medical treatment at private hospitals last year which generated almost THB150 billion for the industry. The Kingdom already achieves a very respectable 35% of the medical tourism market share globally, with medical tourists in Thailand staying on average between one and two weeks, spending approximately THB30,000 per person.
One of the main reasons for this strong performance is price advantage. Medical treatments in Thailand can cost just a tenth of equivalent procedures in countries like the US, UK, and Australia. In fact, according to 'Patients Beyond Borders', average savings on treatments in Thailand range from 50-70% when compared with the US.
Of course, another key factor is the quality of healthcare offered. A country's commitment to international accreditation, quality assurance, and transparency of outcomes is also crucial when it comes to attracting international patients and acknowledging the boom of medical tourism in the region, the Thai government has implemented a number of measures to promote healthcare excellence to international clients.
Acknowledging the boom of medical tourism in the region, the Thai government has taken several measures to promote the healthcare industry among international clients. In order to maintain and improve standards, the Thailand Medical Tourism Cluster was formed in 2010 and there are plans to upgrade its status to become the Thailand Federation of Medical Tourism Association this year, with a target of positioning Thailand as the worldwide leader in medical tourism. Currently, the Kingdom is most well known for plastic surgery, health check-ups, elective surgery and dentistry, but with major government agencies now focusing on the medical tourism sector, the range and scope of treatments offered to visitors is constantly expanding.
Types of Treatment
The most popular treatments for visitors to Thailand include breast augmentation, lift and reduction, as well as facelift work, including chin and eye surgery. Liposuction is also a popular choice, while more generalised treatments include Varicose Vein removal, Carpal Tunnel Decompression, Knee Replacement and Shoulder Arthroscopy. Dental work is also in great demand, as is laser eye surgery.
Hospitals in Thailand provide personalised care to the patients and some even offer additional services such as interpreters and special international wings that cater to a range of nationalities. The doctors are well trained, many of them holding certifications from the US and UK and a good number of Thai hospitals are JCI accredited, adhering to top ISO standards.
An extensive range of medical facilities includes world-class hospitals and privately operated medical clinics from Bangkok to Phuket, Hua Hin to Koh Samui, and there's a wide choice of medical promotion packages available for visitors looking to receive medical treatment in Thailand. Packages frequently include deals on travel to and from Thailand and also include spa treatments and other wellness therapies designed to maximize convenience and comfort as well as meet specific medical needs.
With the money they save, medical tourists in Thailand looking for a peaceful, private location to prepare and recover from their treatment can also rent a private villa before and after the procedure. The comfort and personalised convenience of a luxury holiday home guarantees an untroubled stay, with on-site staff to take care of special requests and total privacy to help patients convalesce in a relaxed environment away from prying eyes.
For more information on the facilities and procedures on offer in Thailand, visit: