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Part 6: Singapore on Myths of Medical Tourism

Home to one of the world's most advanced medical establishments that is the envy of Asia-Pacific and a premier provider of care to travelers from other countries, Singapore is, refreshingly, willing to tell it like it is when it comes to the subject of medical tourism.

Following are a few observations excerpted from the official Singapore medical tourism website:

On the inappropriateness of the very term itself...

"[Medical tourism is] more about the provision of healthcare services across international boundaries than about sprinkling healthcare on vacations... After cosmetic surgery, your surgeon will tell you "no sun, no sea, no sand," so don't believe the brochures."

singapore medical tourism

On inflated statistics...

"As to the boom [reported in articles on medical tourism], guesstimates vary and credible statistics on medical travel are few.

Hospitals routinely report hundreds of thousands of patients because they are not counting individual patients but separate episodes of care (once today, once tomorrow or even once to the consult, once to the lab, once to the pharmacy)."


On the threat of medical tourism to established economies...

"The true danger in medical travel is not to the sending [home] medical economies but to the receiving [destination] medical ecologies, as doctors are enticed away from public hospitals, prices escalate, foreign patients get preferential treatment and public healthcare systems become strained. Countries must pay attention to the public health implications of the medical travel industry, or risk hurting their own population and eventually their medical visitors as well."

On so many countries jumping onto the medical tourism bandwagon...

"Actually, there aren't that many [excellent healthcare destinations in the world]. Some countries have announced national programs and many have marketed themselves as great destinations, but few really deliver. Too many patients have successful surgeries but bad experiences because of poor service....Few places in the world truly provide their patients the peace of mind when health really matters."

On globalization and change...

"[With globalization] the world is now so flat that US facilities like Johns Hopkins operate in Singapore as well."

On quality...

"...the best healthcare in the world is undoubtedly in the USA..."

APSG Comment: With this article, we conclude our special series on the present state of Asian cosmetic medical tourism. Earlier articles and future updates can be found here.

APSG's Cosmetic Medical Tourism Report
Part 1: Cosmetic Medical Tourism Numbers Misunderstood
Part 2: Main Driver of Cosmetic Medical Tourism: Quality or Cost?
Part 3: Geopolitical Threat to Asian Plastic Surgery Tourism
Part 4: China and Cosmetic Medical Tourism: Not a Player
Part 5: Cosmetic Surgery Tourism Cost Savings: Never Mind
Part 6: Singapore on Myths of Medical Tourism

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Singapore on international medical tourism and travel