Medical tourism from Russia to Finland is growing

 

For many years medical travellers have gone to private Finnish clinics for treatment and now public hospitals want to attract Russian business. Almost all business comes from Russia, with a smattering from other European countries.

Most private clinics with specialist skills that attract foreign customers to Finland are in Helsinki. The number of foreign customers is not known, but many private clinics in the Finnish capital each receive hundreds of patients from abroad each year. People go for cosmetic surgery, surgery, fertility treatment and cancer care.

The Lauttasaari clinic of Suomen Terveystalo, Finland's biggest private clinic and hospital chain, receives hundreds of foreign clients every year. They go for varicose veins treatments and laser surgery, which is used to remove wrinkles and tattoos: advanced hair transplant techniques.

Some foreigners go to Finland to receive fertility treatments. At Felicitas Clinic, one out of ten clients come from abroad. Some come from Norway where the laws on donor egg treatments are stricter than in Finland.

Publicly funded hospitals in Finland are showing interest in caring for health tourists coming from Russia. Many hospitals are considering different ways of getting Russian citizens to travel across the border for medical care in Finland. Among measures under consideration to make it easier for foreign customers to find medical care in Finland is the establishment of a patient agency to organise travel for both patients and their accompanying family members or friends.
    
Some public hospitals do attract paying private patients from overseas. Coxa, a hospital specialising in joint replacements in Tampere, gets under 100 foreign patients a year; while 30 to 50 Russian women give birth at the Kymenlaakso Central Hospital in Kotka.

At the private cancer centre, the Docrates Hospital in Helsinki, one in five patients are from abroad. Most of the 300 to 400 patients are Russian. In addition to the actual treatments, the customer service includes post-op hotel accommodation. If needed, a nurse can visit the patient to administer medication, until the patient is ready to return home. Some of the clinic’s patients receive treatment a couple of times a month and they will stay in Finland for a few days at a time. The clinic sees its greatest potential for growth abroad. Language skills are given a priority when hiring staff.

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