Turkey medical tourism:
Known for its cultural history and beauty, Turkey is gaining popularity in the Medical Tourism industry. In the year 2014, they have received the record number of foreign patients and have climbed to the top 10 most favored medical tourism destination in the world. Some five years before they were in 17th place.
This immense growth in Medical Tourism industry is mainly of its geographical placement. Turkey is at the meeting point between Europe and Asia and surrounded by eight countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Also, it has become a medical destination for people from Russia, England, Germany, Netherlands, Romania, Ukraine, and Bulgaria.
The role of Turkish Ministry of Health in medical industry:
Out of 1200+ hospitals in Turkey, 55% are owned by The Turkish Ministry of Health and the rest by private companies and universities. The Ministry has proposed several rules & regulations in healthcare services to be followed by each hospital, healthcare facilities, and medical practitioners. As a preparation to join the European Union, Turkey is strictly implementing these quality standards both in government and private healthcare institutions.
Beginning in 2003, Turkey initiated a series of reforms like Health Transformation Program (HTP), to strengthen primary health care service. The aim of HTP was to improve public health, expand the access of medical care, provide health insurance to all citizens, and to develop a patient-centered system to address health inequities for women and children. Family Medicine Program (FMP) was introduced in 2005 in which each patient is assigned to a specific doctor. To support this, Community Health Centers (CHC) were set up, where they provide vaccination campaigns, family planning services, and maternal & child health services. Due to these measures, by 2011, the Ministry of Health had 20,000+ new family medicine teams at over 6300 centers. These Medical centers provide primary healthcare, mobile health care and women’s and pediatric health care throughout the country. It benefited rural residents and home bound patients.
At present, more than 47 medical organizations have been accredited by JCI (Joint Commissions International). This makes Turkey a with highest number of institutions accreditation achieved by any country.
What medical treatments are popular in Turkey?
Among all medical treatments in Turkey, the popular ones are Plastic surgery, General and Aesthetic Dentistry, Cardiac Surgery, Cancer Treatment, Stem Cell Transplantation, Fertility, Optical care, Physiotherapy, Renal Dialysis, Obesity treatment, Oxygen Therapy, Psoriasis Treatment and Psychology.
Medical tourists from Europe visit Turkey mainly for Plastic surgery, Optical care, Hair transplant, Dental care and In Vitro fertilization treatment. All these treatments are reportedly done with less wait-time and comparatively at the lesser cost.
In comparison with the UK, from which Turkey receives more medical travelers, the cost difference is 40-50% lesser. For example, Hip Replacement surgery that costs $13,500 to $14,500 in the UK would cost only $6,500 to $7,500 in Turkey, which is nearly 50% lesser. Some treatments even cost 70% lesser in Turkey, like the Face Lift surgery (a plastic surgery) that costs $11,000 – $12,000 in the UK would cost $3,000 to $4,000 in Turkey. As almost every medical treatment is provided for lesser costs, Turkey has an increasing number of medical tourists each year.
Turkey’s Health Ministry is intending to increase the number of medical tourists to 2 million by 2023 by introducing tax-free health care specifically for foreign patients.
To further facilitate the travel for medical tourists, the Government of Turkey has offered to provide visa upon arrival for foreign medical travelers. The medical tourists can also avail the visa from the Turkish Consulates in their country of residence.
Other reasons to have Turkey as your medical tourism destination:
Turkey has got well-trained and educated manpower in its health sector. Along with excellent hospitality, they provide the medical tourist with proper guidance. The doctors give the medical tourist adequate information before and after the treatment/surgery.
To help overcome the language barrier, many medical organizations have English-speaking surgeons and specialists. English is commonly spoken in Istanbul, a city in Turkey.
For the technological advancements in medicine, Turkey has made the reforms and now it matches that of EU countries. The market for medical devices has grown. As per the 2010 figures, the country’s medical equipment market is evaluated to have exceeded $2 billion.
As the medical system policy (similar to US-based model) is maintained by the Ministry of Health, the quality of health care is competitive with other well-developed countries. On par with international standards, Turkey has much modern hygienic hospitals and medical centers, with ISO and JCI accreditation.
Turkey has natural thermal springs and people take bath in it. They call it ‘kaphca’ in Turkish. Many believe that these thermal springs have healing properties. Elderly people are particularly attracted to them. It is popular for local tourists as well as travelers from abroad, especially Arab countries. Many spas and resorts with 5-star facilities are available around these thermal springs where one can spend their time after their medical treatment.