Weak regulation threatens India’s medical travel sector

 

The article says that the government in India is promoting medical tourism in many ways, including offering hospitals marketing development assistance, allowing medical visas, setting up facilitation counters at major airports, launching a website to provide information on medical tourism in the country and constituting a National Medical and Wellness Tourism Board.

But it argues India’s vast private medical sector, which is where most international patients seek treatment, is largely unregulated.

It says that if the government wants to promote medical tourism and give all patients the same protections irrespective of where they come from, it must ensure regulations like the codes of the National Accreditation Board of Hospitals and Healthcare Providers are implemented properly.

The article also identifies the severe lack of data on medical procedures in India.  It quotes Dr George Thomas, chief orthopaedic surgeon at St Isabel’s Hospital in Chennai, saying "In India, nobody publishes infection rates in hospitals. In well-regulated systems like Sweden and other places in western Europe, this kind of data is collected. There are a lot of things in India that we do not know because we do not have data and it is not a regulatory requirement to collect such data. Patients have no good source of information."

For in-depth analysis of the medical travel sector in India, visit the IMTJ Country Profile.

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