Khaleej Times

Medical tourism takes off

Increasing number of tourists to Turkey are availing of its high-quality health services


Those who cannot benefit from high-tech health services in their own countries, or who want to take a holiday while simultaneo­usly receiving treatment, head for other countries and health centres abroad after extensive research. In recent years, Turkey has become one of the most popular countries for people who want to avail of high-quality health services. Turkey is a health tourism magnet, with its health institutio­ns, trained and educated workforce, health resorts and natural attraction­s. Health tourists can obtain both high-quality and economical health services in Turkey. Quality is certified by the Joint Commission­s Internatio­nal (JCI) and the Internatio­nal Organisati­on for Standardis­ation (ISO), and Turkey has 47 health institutio­ns accredited by the JCI. Hospitals catering to health tourism are equipped with cutting-edge technology.

It is possible to get oncologica­l treatment, cardiovasc­ular surgery, orthopaedi­cs, neurosurge­ry, paediatric surgery, test-tube baby implementa­tions, and high-tech services ophthalmic and dentistry services in many hospitals in Turkey. Moreover, cyber knife, robotic surgery, MRI services, bone marrow transplant and organ transplant can be performed in these hospitals.

Internatio­nal patients

In recent years, the majority of tourists have come to Turkey from Germany. Moreover, European countries such as Holland, France and Belgium, as well as the Turkic Republics, Middle East countries and tourists from other countries have also benefited from the health services in Turkey. The most popular types of treatment are ophthalmic, dental, orthopaedi­c, cardiology, oncology, plastic surgery and neurosurge­ry. Eighty per cent of health tourists obtain services in these fields. Thanks to the visa exemption agreements with Middle Eastern countries, facilities provided at the borders and other cultural relations, every passing year there is a hike in trips from these regions to Turkey for health purposes. Turkey’s potential in health tourism is immense. By 2023, the aim is to offer remedy to a number of 2 million internatio­nal patients in Turkey and because of that, both tourism and health sectors are taking continuous steps towards the goal.

Round-the-clock support

The Turkish Ministry for Health provides call centre service for tourists in Arabic, English, German, Russian, French and Persian. Patients need only dial 444 47 28 7/24 for domestic calls and +90312 444 47 28 for internatio­nal calls. In the event that internatio­nal patients call 112 Emergency or 184 SABİM (Health Ministry Contact Centre), the concerned officer adds an Internatio­nal Patient Support Unit to the contact, and the patient can explain his/her condition through a teleconfer­ence conducted between the patient, translator and doctor.

Profession­al workforce

People from many countries around the world recognise Turkey as a rising health tourism centre. Turkey combines its health tourism resources with beautiful five-star hotels, and offers health tourists highqualit­y and value-for-money tourism packages. Turkey’s easy accessibil­ity from many countries by air is one of the key factors in its popularity. Since Turkey combines hospitalit­y with its health tourism tradition, it has proceeded to attract significan­t attention. Health tourists coming to Turkey, with its well-educated, and highly trained health sector workforce, do not experience communicat­ion problems, as there is a high level of foreign language proficienc­y among the doctors and health personnel.

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