Private Hospitals to boost medical tourism in Iceland?


Medical tourism could be about to grow in Iceland, as two new private hospitals, Iceland Healthcare in Reykjanesbaer and PrimaCare in Mosfellsbaer, are being built. Both will offer specialized surgery and treatment, joint replacement, and other services. Dental implant clinic Nordic Smile, owned by two Swedes, has opened in a new building by the Reykjavík seaside. Nordic Smile offers dental implant treatments at low prices, but with the best quality in material and technique in accordance with strict Scandinavian health standards. The goal is to offer services for 30% of the normal price for similar services in the UK. A dental implant treatment for one jaw, upper or lower, costs 5800 Euros, including implant screws, abutments, high quality titanium bridge, new teeth, x-rays, consultation etc. Nordic Smile has negotiated a special price for their customers on airfares and accommodation.

Nordic Health Pro, owned by Icelandic doctors, is looking into the possibility of attracting patients to Icelandic clinics and hospitals. Patients are already being flown in from Greenland and Faroe Islands to the Landspítali national hospital in Reykjavík in accordance with agreements with the authorities in those countries.

Magnus Orri Schram of the Association of Health Tourism in Iceland believes there are many opportunities for tourism from overseas patients going private hospitals, as it is common for partners to accompany patients on these trips. He estimates that patients usually stay at a hospital and hotel for two weeks after surgery. Iceland has much to offer in terms of bathing, exercising, rehabilitation and an overall lifestyle change where the country’s nature and image fits in well with health-related tourism. Although it does get a few medical tourists, attempts over the last five years to increase numbers have mostly failed.

PrimaCare is an Icelandic private limited liability company founded in June 2008 to develop, build, operate, and market a state-of-the-art- medical resort destination. The medical focus is orthopedic joint replacement (knee and hip), and other less invasive orthopedic procedures. It will be a surgical specialty hospital with an elegant boutique-style hotel and after-care facility. This resort environment will help rehabilitation and healing. PrimaCare is medical tourism destination offering a package of: extremely high quality medical care and delivery; rehabilitation management; focused customer service including serving as a liaison with referring physicians and third party payers; medical continuity and follow-up s; and vacation/tourism packages for the friends and families of patients.

A new private hospital run by Iceland Healthcare, owned by entrepreneur Robert Wessman, hopes to open this August in the military hospital at the old US Naval Air Station at Keflavík that has been vacant since the US military left the base in 2006. Modification work is scheduled to begin soon and finish in mid-2011. The hospital aims to target patients form overseas, particularly the UK and Norway, with specialized treatments, joint replacements and gastric bypass surgery along with rehabilitation. It will also offer rehabilitation for cardiac patients and behavioral treatment for obesity patients. Keflavík Airport Development Corporation (Kadeco) is a co-owner with other investors of Seltún, a new company that owns and runs the site. The company estimates that it will have to invest $9 million to upgrade the hospital to modern private patient use. Iceland Healthcare has a 25-year lease and is also renting two apartment complexes in the vicinity for a hospital hotel.

Kadeco is offering real estate investors the opportunity to invest in medical tourism at what is has been known as the Asbru Enterprise Park since 2006. Asbru Enterprise Park wants to become an international centre for health and relaxation. The park, which was formerly the NATO base in Iceland, has several properties available for purchase, including the fully operational Icelandic Health Hotel - which opened in 2009 as Detox Health Center to offer therapies developed in Poland. Properties for sale cater for companies looking for service, industry and residential development locations. The Icelandic Health Hotel specialises in health and wellness programmes, where people stay for two weeks and eliminating alcohol, drugs, caffeine and learn how to lead a healthy lifestyle.

The Reykjanes Health Association, set up in 2009, aims to promote Reykjanes as a health destination, by marketing Iceland for health and medical tourism. Whether these renewed attempts to attract businesses and medical tourists will succeed is debatable. For the best part of five years, the owners of Asbru Enterprise Park have been attempting to promote the site, with regular stories that it is about to open with a range of health providers. That it is urgently seeking investor partners suggests that Kadeco does not yet have enough funds to rebuild the hospital. In February 2010 Kadeco assured Iceland Healthcare that construction and renovations to the hospital would begin in the second quarter of 2010 but work was not begun in 2010, so even if the new dates are met, it may not be ready for patients until 2012.  The hospital will have three operating theatres and 35 hospital beds, but can only treat 4000 patients a year. In 2010 Kadeco promised that the hospital would get 2000 patients per year, with the first medical tourists arriving in the second quarter of 2011. We will have to wait and see if / when it opens, whether it can attract sufficient medical tourists to make investment worthwhile.



Do you have some news or a press release that you’d like to share with the medical travel industry?

Publish for FREE on IMTJ.


Related News

Saudi Arabia health tourism

23 June, 2020

Next steps in Amaala development in Saudi Arabia

Sweden spa village for sale

18 June, 2020

A potential medical tourism location in Sweden?

Malaysia tourism taskforce

07 May, 2020

Malaysian state Penang looks at tourism revival

Dubai cosmetic surgery

01 May, 2020

Avivo opens new clinic in Dubai

Rebuilding Iraq’s healthcare

27 April, 2020

Private sector to fund Iraq healthcare improvements