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Medical Tourism Growing on Phuket News Feed

Medical Tourism Growing on Phuket

The Bangkok Hospital Group recently opened a new THB900 million (US$25 million) medical tourism facility on Phuket, according to The Phuket Gazette. The group purchased Phuket International Hospital in 2014 for THB3.61 billion (US$1 billion) to bring its aesthetic surgery branch to the island.

“When Bangkok Hospital took over, they wanted Phuket International Hospital to focus on cosmetic surgery, so they re-assigned the building for medical tourism,” said Dr Sanguan Kunaporn, director of the Phuket Plastic Surgery Institute at Phuket International Hospital told the newspaper. “It will not be just for plastic surgery, but will house an anti-ageing department and a skincare department as well.”

Surgeons from both hospitals will co-ordinate to form a brand new team at the facility, which is home to 10 operating auditoriums and almost 70 patient recovery rooms. According to Dr. Sanguan, the two hospitals treated 3,500 patients in 2014 and generated more than THB500 million (US$13 million) in revenue.

“We arranged for this building to be a one-stop service for our clients. They can come from the airport or their hotel to this single building to get their consultation, pre-operation investigation and the operation itself, and enjoy the comfortable lobby and in-patient rooms,” said Dr. Sanguan.

Thailand is quickly becoming one of the leaders in Asia’s medical tourism market. Top class  medical facilities and aftercare, comfortable accommodation offerings and a pleasant climate are just a few of the reasons why the Kingdom is attracting new patients. While the American market comprised the majority of patients during the 1990s, Australians and New Zealanders now account for a high proportion of customers.

“After the Asean Economic Community [AEC] opens up, we hope that we can tap into new markets,” said Dr. Sanguan, who has already met with medical travel agents in Myanmar to ascertain the market potential. “There’s a lot of opportunity there because there aren’t many good hospitals or clinics that can provide good services to the Myanmar people or expats,” he explained. “Most patients from Myanmar go to Bangkok, but they are interested in what we have [in Phuket] in the way of aesthetic plastic surgery.”

According to Dr. Sanguan, the Chinese market is also a key part of Phuket’s new strategy for developing its medical tourism industry. Wellness, anti-ageing and skin treatment packages are amongst the most popular procedures for Chinese patients but relatively few are currently travelling to the island for plastic surgery.



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