Softening of Singapore's medical tourism nudging health groups overseas

Published: 06.08.2018 Related countries:  Singapore Singapore

As regional hospitals improve and chargé less for care, local private hospitals try to hang on to medical tourists

Singapore's medical tourism has not been in the pink of health of late, with well-heeled medical tourists now looking elsewhere for health care, where standards have risen and treatment comes at more competitive prices. So instead of trying to attract foreigners to Singapore for dental work, heart bypasses and a nip-and-tuck, some of Singapore's biggest private hospital groups are changing tack, investing in medical facilities outside Singapore. Raffles Medical Group, for example, has three medical centres in Hong Kong and one in Shanghai; IHH Healthcare Bhd has about 50 hospitals in Asia, central and eastern Europe, and is opening two more in China. But not all players are feeling the heat. Farrer Park Hospital still has "a good mix" of Malaysians, Chinese, Indonesians and Bangladeshis making up about half its total patient load, which has grown five-fold in the first nine months of the hospital's operation. Its spokesman said "Asia is on the rise with a growing high-income group and an even larger middle-income class. Travel within the region has never been better or easier with the advent of low-cost carriers and the wide selection of accommodation on platforms like Airbnb".