Health is wealth in Thailand


Bangkok's glitzy hospitals are conducting a successful cut-price campaign to attract international customers, under the government's 'medical tourism' policy that is posing tough competition for hospitals in Singapore, Malaysia, Hongkong, Britain and the US, a report in the Business Times stated.

The report further added, however, that some Thai hospitals were warning that their dream-run may come to an end, as they cannot forever keep prices low and yet maintain world-class standards that require them to purchase the latest medical equipment and techniques from the West.

But for now, the world flocks to Bangkok for state-of-the-art medical treatment at prices that are 50-70 per cent cheaper than private healthcare facilities in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Britain and the US.

Leading the charge, according to the report, are Thai healthcare providers such as Bumrungrad Hospital, Rama 9 Hospital and Bangkok Hospital.

Bumrungrad's director of international programmes, Ruben Toral was quoted in the report as saying: "As I often say, there are not too many medical centres in the world where you can make an on-line appointment with a US Board Certified specialist, pay $15 for the consultation, and get a Starbuck's cappuccino on the way out in under one hour."

The Tourism Authority of Thailand has been pushing the 'medical tourism' policy since the Thaksin Shinawatra government came to power, the paper said. But some hospital administrators say they will be un able to keep prices low as the cost of medical equipment is high.