NEW DELHI: For Indian doctors, western shores could be greener. But for an increasing number of foreign patients, Indian hospitals are fast becoming their first choice. Over 1.5 lakh medical tourists travelled to India in 2002 alone, bringing in earnings of $300 million.
Since then, the number of such travellers has been increasing by at least 25% every year. A CII-McKinsey report projects that earnings through medical tourism would go up to $2 billion by 2012.
Most patients visiting India are from SAARC countries, but an increasing number of NRIs settled in the US and the UK have also been availing of healthcare services in India. The Planning Commission holds superior quality of medical service coupled with the low cost of surgeries responsible for making the country one of the most attractive destinations for medical value travel. In its latest high-level report, the commission has done a cost comparison of various medical procedures.
Released by Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Wednesday, the report reveals that while a heart bypass surgery would cost a patient $6,000 in India, the same surgery would cost the person $7,894 in Thailand, $10,417 in Singapore, $23,938 in the US and $19,700 in Britain.