With a growing number of tourists who are now looking to combine their trip to Vietnam with medical treatments, medical tourism needs combined efforts by various travel firms and agencies to realise the huge potential of this growing market, experts stated.
Over the last 10 years, medical tourism has grown significantly, especially in Asia which is now one of the most popular destinations in the world for medical tourism due to the low costs of treatment combined with the hot weather and local sights.
With highly experienced physicians, advanced technologies and new state-of-the-art facilities available, many hospitals in Vietnam are seeing a large increase of foreign patients from Australia, US, Japan, South Korea, Africa, Cambodia and Laos.
“Vietnamese doctors are highly competent in comparison with their colleagues in South East Asia” Said Tang Chi Thuong who is the Deputy Director of Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Health.
Receiving cardiac surgery in Vietnam will likely set you back around $3000 USD, which is just 1/3 of what it would cost if you went to Singapore.
Nguyen Duc Minh from the City Hospital of Odonto-Stomatology estimates that the number of overseas patients is growing by 10% each year. He went on to say that around 500 overseas visitors are receiving dental care at the hospital.
The head of HCM City University Hospital’s general planning department, Vu Try Thanh, has said that the number of foreign patients visiting his hospital now stands at around 22,000 per year. To meet the rising demand, two new examination rooms are being built to exclusively serve foreign visitors.
FV Hospital also gets a large number of foreign visitors, estimated at 20,000 per year.
There are a number of foreign companies who sell medical tourism packages for around $10,000 USD which includes accommodation and tours in addition to the treatment. Domestic travel companies have failed to take advantage and explore opportunities to cooperate with foreign firms and help serve these visitors who are willing to pay high costs.
Travel firms have claimed that medical tourism has not achieved reliability in terms of patient trust and quality of treatment. Hospitals and clinics must receive international accreditation before they will get the trust of tourists who are looking for first class medical care. Experts have claimed that sufficient marketing is required to attract more foreigners.
The Department of Health has recently signed an agreement with the Department of Tourism to develop 5 types of medical tourism that related to dental care, cosmetic surgery, traditional medicine, diagnosis of certain diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, and finally, general health consultations.
This first of its kind agreement will serve as a foundation for medical tourism throughout Ho Chi Minh City. The departments will soon release a list of hospitals and clinics in the city that are accredited by the Department of Health for the benefit of tourists.