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Article on Medical Tourism >> Main Travel >> Medical Tourism >> Article

Tourists from around the world are beginning to realize the potential of modern and traditional Indian medicine. Indian hospitals and medical establishments have also realized the potential of this niche market and have begun to tailor their services for foreign visitors. At a regional geo-political level, this nascent industry came to limelight with the arrival of 'Naby Noor' from Pakistan, who came by the Indo-Pak bus service and got a red-carpet treatment at hospital in Bangalore. Several Indian state governments have realized the potential of this 'industry' and have been actively promoting it. Visitors, especially from the west and the middle-east find Indian hospitals a very affordable and viable option to grappling with insurance and National medical systems in their native lands. Many prefer to combine their treatments with a visit to the 'exotic east' with their families, killing two birds with one stone. For further details on Indian Medical tourism Industry, click here. You may also visit our health sections at Ayurveda, or Yoga or the Sitemap

India World's preferred healthcare destination

With an estimated 1.7 lakh foreigners already flying to India for medical treatment annually, the country is poised to capture the fast-growing market for off-shore health care and help solve the crisis of surging medical costs in the developed world.

Just as Indian computer whizkids can now match US and European software analysts at any level of sophistication, its army of doctors and nurses can offer comparable care, at minimal cost, a media report said in London.

Mumbai's Jaslok Hospital has a floor devoted to Gulf patients, which are among the 1.7 lakh foreigners flying to India each year for knee, hip, spine and heart surgery at bargain prices, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Dr Ehandapany Raghavan, vice president of Siemens Medical, said sheer necessity would force the West to subcontract its care to India.

"General Motors spends $6 billion a year on health care, it's killing the company," he said. "These firms are going to have to turn to India because but there's no other choice," he told the newspaper.

US hospitals already use Indian doctors for night emergencies, sending data from X-rays and scans electronically for instant analysis. 63-year-old Dan Robertson found his way to Jaslok Hospital from Arizona after researching hip ailments on the Internet.

Crippled with pain and shortage of money, the estate agent boarded a plane and travelled to a country he knew little about for a double hip replacement. A month later he seemed ecstatic as he hobbled across his airy room with a sun set view.

"People come here from all over the world for hip ailments, so I was quite comfortable with the idea," Robertson said. "It cost me a fraction of what it would in the US, even with airfares for my sister and everything.

" According to Taj Medical Group, a knee operation that might cost 10,000 in the UK can be obtained in India for 4,900, including travel and accommodation.

Patients seeking minor surgery combine their treatment with holidays at post resorts, which are included in the price.

The hospital has all the latest Western kit with machines identical to those in top US and British hospitals but the prices are not. Jaslok offers a total body scan to detect early cancer for 72, compared with 2,200 quoted in Britain.

A study by the Confederation of Indian Industry forecast that medical tourism will reach $2.3 billion dollars a year by 2012 and could further rise significantly.

Wockhardt drug company and Apollo Hospitals, an Indian chain, are both bidding, aggressively for the trade. The Wockhardt Heart Centre in Bangalore is one of just 50 hospitals worldwide with a top US rating.

Leslie Smith, founder of Medibrokers in Britain, said it would not be long before charter flights packed with medical tourists descended on the sub-continent's medical hubs - Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune and Goa.


"We are going to see jumbo jets painted white bringing people over for due diligence check ups, like brain and body scans," he said. "In Britain alone, the demand for knee surgery is expected to grow by 60 per cent, over the next five years. The National Health Service can't afford this." Kanta Masand, director at Jaslok said "about one in five of our medical tourists are now coming from Canada and the US." "We're starting to see English patients too, thanks to the failings of the NHS," he said. At present a few Britons come at their own expense. The NHS is under orders from Downing Street to halt foreign treatment, deeming the practice a stain on Labour's health record.

"Waiting lists are down to six months so we don't need to look abroad. We certainly have no plans to send anybody to India," said a spokesman.

An expert report this week said British medical costs would rise from 7.2 per cent to 12.7 per cent of GDP by 2050, a pattern reflected across the developed world.

Even China will soon be facing an ageing crisis, leaving youthful India as the one big country left with the spare health capacity and medical skills to nurse the West in its dotage, the newspaper noted.

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