Finland Care promotes health tourism to Russians

 

The number of Russians going to Finland for medical care or a wellness holiday is expected to increase substantially in the next few years.

Finpro has launched Finland Care to promote health tourism from Russia to Finland. It also seeks opportunities for Finnish companies to offer healthcare services in Russia.

Finland Care is implemented by Finpro’s office in St. Petersburg. Finpro is a public-private organization, part of the ministry of employment, seeking to promote the internationalization of Finnish companies and foreign investment in Finland.

Recent interest in Finnish health care and its export potential has brought new players in the sector. New companies have been set up specifically to provide travel arrangements. One of them is a health broker Nordic Clinic, established to develop a health-oriented tourism to Finland. It owns a healthcare hotel in Helsinki. The number of patients from Russia is set to increase greatly within a few years and health tourism in Finland will be a booming business, according to Tero Silvola of Nordic Clinic. "It is now predicted that over the next ten years the Russian healthcare market will grow. Private markets can grow up to three-fold from the current level. In the market in question there is not a great deal of trust in the quality of health services, and a large part of that demand will turn to the Nordic countries."

Every year, thousands of Russians seek treatment abroad and the number is expected to grow.  A recent Finpro survey showed that at least 100,000 Russians went abroad in 2011 to seek treatment; but only 1,000 sought treatment from Finland.

The key problem highlighted by Finpro was language and unless advertising, marketing and all contact are all in Russian, then the Russians will not go to that country. Eero Toiviainen of Finland Care explains, "One big obstacle has been language. The problem has largely been remedied, as more health care providers add Russian language skills to their repertoire.”

The Russian language website of Finland Care aims to attract Russians to Finland for treatment. The website acts as a platform for any Finnish company seeking to offer Finnish private treatment, care or welfare to Russians.

Partner companies already signed up to Finland Care include; Docrates Hospital, Orton Orthopaedic Hospital, Hospital Neo, Heart Center Tampere, Ovumia, Coxa Hospital, Nordic Clinic, Clinic Helena, Hyksin, Arte-Doctors, and Med Group.  

Specialist cancer treatment is offered at Docrates Hospital in Helsinki. Orton Orthopaedic Hospital in Helsinki and Hospital Neo in Turku offer orthopedic treatment. The Heart Center Tampere University Hospital specialises in heart disease. Ovumia is a private fertility clinic in Tampere. Coxa Hospital in Tampere specialises in joint replacements. Clinic Helena is a specialist breast cancer clinic in Savonlinna. Hyksin is a new company that is offering a wide range of private treatment from 2013 at the University Hospital of Helsinki for patients from Russia, Sweden and the UK. Arte-Doctors runs clinics in Lahti and Heinola.Med Group has five dental clinics.

Hospital Orton has brought foreign patients to Finland since the 1990s. The overwhelming majority come from Russia. The number of overseas patients has risen steeply in the last few years. Juha Aarvala of Orton comments, "In the last three years the number has grown 60 to 70 % each year. The impact is around 5 to10 % of our turnover. The need and potential is noticeably bigger than what we have at this moment realised."

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