Singapore sees big ME healthcare role
Dubai, January 27, 2008
The growing pace of globalisation within the healthcare sector is creating new opportunities for companies and specialists in the Middle East, according to a Singaporean expert.
Although many people have traditionally opted to stay in their home country for treatment, the increasingly international accessibility of clinical service means that more people than ever before now have the option of seeking medical treatment abroad, said Dr Jason Yap, director of healthcare services, Singapore Tourism Board.
Combined with the greater ease of global travel and the special facilities available for medical travelers, the world is seeing a far more mobile international patient population.
“This major new change presents challenges and opportunities to national health services,” according to Dr Yap, who is set to speak in Dubai this month.
“The medical travel market ranges from simple cosmetic and commoditised surgeries like hip replacements, to highly-specialised tertiary and quaternary services for critical illnesses and relatively rare conditions,” he said.
“As healthcare goes global and the world increasingly flattens, options available to patients have increased tremendously in recent years. This is a good thing as patients have more choice and more patients obtain the healthcare they seek,” Dr Yap added.
Singapore welcomed 410,000 medical travellers in 2006 and is increasingly being seen as a model for the development of a globally-focused healthcare system combining both public and private involvement.
“Singapore is one of the best places in the world in terms of the quality of medical care and range of services. In fact, our medical system is almost too developed for our population size,” he commented.
“That's why we have to bring in international visitors, so that we can continue to have the very best treatment and facilities for both our Singaporean patients as well as overseas visitors.”
At this year’s Arab Health Congress, Dr. Yap will be delivering two key note presentations examining these issues.
The first – “What defines success in global healthcare?” – will look at the national and organizational models that help drive countries to excel in the global healthcare market. The second – “Should the public sector get involved?” – will examine the relationship between public and private healthcare, using Singapore’s system as a model. -TradeArabia News Service