Inbound Russian medical tourism quadruples

 

Russia is usually seen as a key source of medical tourists but the weak rouble means that for overseas customers the cost of treatment in Russia has plummeted.

The country is not prepared to release actual figures, but the number of foreigners seeking treatment in Russia is growing. Igor Lanskoi, advisor to the Russian health minister, says that four times as many non-Russians sought medical treatment in 2015 than in 2014. Whether these are medical tourists or international patients is not clear. Some expatriate workers in Russia have seen the value of their salary drop alarmingly, so they may prefer getting treatment in Russia to their previous practices of going overseas/

According to Lanskoi, the increase has brought the state billions of roubles in extra revenue. In 2015 they added from $108 million to $154 million to the state budget. Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova confirms that in 2015 the number of foreigners who underwent treatment in Russia increased fourfold compared to 2014.

Once, only citizens from the ex-Soviet republics in the CIS countries would go to Russia, with Moscow having a reputation as the best place for treatment in the region.

According to David Melik-Guseinov, director of the Federal Research Institute for Health Organization, "Citizens of neighbouring countries, CIS countries, come to Russia. That is the way it was historically back in the Soviet times – the best medicine was concentrated in Moscow. But lately foreigners from faraway countries have also been coming to Russia, including several Americans.”

The quality of medical treatment tends to be high, but Russian clinics and hospitals are far behind their European or Asian rivals on customer services and quality of non- medical care.

An Austrian company, intend to help create a medical cluster in the Caucasian Spas, which is a cluster of mineral springs at Yessentuki, Zheleznovodsk, Kislovodsk and Pyatigorsk. The Ministry of North Caucasus Affairs of Russia welcomes the company’s participation in construction of the facilities, as well as supplying equipment and personnel selection and training. Discussion continues on the possibility of the Austrian company’s participation in joint management of the facilities after they are put into operation.

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