New strategy for Jordan medical tourism

 

The committee will include representatives of all relevant bodies including the Private Hospitals Association, Tourism Ministry, Jordan Tourism Board, the army affiliated Royal Medical Services, Jordan Hotel Association, Jordan Restaurants Association, Jordan Dental Association, Jordanian Pharmacists Association and Jordan Nurses and Midwives Association.

At present, the Private Hospitals Association is the only body promoting medical tourism to Jordan.

Parliament has been trying to pass a law to allow malpractice suits, but the local medical association is pushing against it.

The government's decision to allow patients and their chaperones of certain nationalities to enter Jordan for treatment could boost local medical tourism.

Patients and companions from Nigeria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Chad and Ethiopia can obtain entry visas to Jordan from Jordanian embassies in those countries within 48 hours of submitting the visa application. Women of all ages and men aged 50 or above, or men under 15, will not need to get pre-arrival visas.  Emergency cases can get same day visas. Embassies will check medical reports and issue permits to the hospital that is treating the patient.

New regulations also remove restrictions on patients from nationalities who have permanent residency in the Gulf countries, the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, EU countries, Switzerland, the UK and South Korea. They will be able to obtain visa upon arrival if they have a six-month residency and a two-way ticket with a specified departure date.

According to the new regulations, hospitals must provide a bank guarantee worth JD10,000 to ensure the departure of patients before the expiry of the visa.

The rules allow that each patient can be accompanied by a maximum of four chaperones from their family, in addition to two children.

Jordan was once the medical tourism star of MENA but has lost out dramatically to Dubai. In addition to visa problems and lack of malpractice laws, conflict in neighbouring countries has dramatically reduced medical tourists from Europe and the USA.  Accommodating the significant influx of refugees who lack the capacity to pay has also put serious financial pressure on the healthcare system.

Local opinion on the new strategy plan is divided. Some say that the visa changes will be enough to revive medical tourism. Others argue that the real problem is that Jordan is more expensive than rivals, while the visa changes and marketing ignore potential markets in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and East Africa.

Find more analysis on the state of the medical tourism sector in Jordan in the IMTJ country profiles.

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