Health tourism development in Turkey

 

The Turkish government has laid down some rules on health tourism, while foreign investors see potential in Turkish hospitals.

According to the Turkish Health Tourism Association, Turkey has become a leading provider of high-quality health services in recent years and has become a destination for health tourism in the region. Many new hospitals have and will be built both for locals and medical tourists.

The Ministry of Health has laid down new rules on treating people in Turkey if they live abroad -
•    Health services can be provided to foreign citizens at different prices to locals in all Ministry of Health hospitals.
•    Foreign patient provincial coordination centres will be established first in 7 provinces (Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir, Antalya, Muğla, Aydın and Gaziantep) under health directorates.
•    Foreign patient units will be established in various hospitals in a total of 15 provinces.
•    Personnel speaking foreign languages will be assigned to these new units.
•    Foreign patients will be able to apply to provincial coordination centres individually or through a consultant firm or travel agency for advanced examinations and treatments (brain surgery, cardiovascular surgery, oncology treatments, etc.) as health tourists.
•    To answer patient complaint calls of foreign patients, English, German, Arabic, Russian language translators will be employed.
•    For health services to be provided to foreign patients, the ministry has established a health tourism coordination department.

Parkway Holdings, Fortis Healthcare International and Life Healthcare Group are among groups interested in buying a stake in Turkey's largest hospital chain, Acibadem Healthcare Group. Acıbadem operates 11 general hospitals and 8 medical centres. The international patient centre is a centralized service for patients visiting hospitals from countries outside Turkey. Venture capital groups are also looking at the potential to buy cheaply now and sell for a profit within five years. Dubai-based Abraaj Capital, which owns 46% of Acibadem, has hired Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch to study options for the stake. Abraaj may prefer to sell the shares in the Istanbul-based hospital operator to another healthcare company rather than an investor.

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