Medical tourism on the rise despite superbug reports

by Nivedita Mookerji , | 2011-10-26

Operators managing health tourists in India have their hands full these days. Patients from the Western countries in need of surgery are travelling to India in large numbers in the last quarter of the calendar year, so that they can be well during Christmas and New Year celebrations, according to doctors and executives at medical tourism companies. This is despite reports of high levels of ‘superbugs’ in and around some Indian hospitals.

Confirming the trend, Dr Arun Kumar, CEO of Mediescape, a medical tourism company, told Business Standard the number of overseas travellers coming for treatment to India has risen since the beginning of October. These are mostly high-end health tourists and are coming from the US, UK and Europe. “We are fully booked till December, as patients want to be in the best of health around year-end festivities,” he said.

The bookings for October to December have risen by around 17-18 per cent, compared to the previous months of the year, according to Kumar. When asked about the impact of superbug reports on medical tourism, he laughed it off. Dr Sunil Dubey, representing, a consultancy service in health tourism, pointed out that the patients from the US, UK, Europe mainly come to India for surgeries or procedures that are tough to get approvals for from the health regulators in their respective countries. Another reason for them to travel to India is the long queue for surgery in some of the Western countries. The procedures that overseas medical tourists come to India for include infertility treatment, hip replacement, plastic surgery, and dental implants, among others.

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