Over the past 10 years, Thailand and in particular Bangkok has seen a significant rise in the level of Medical tourism the country receives each year. In 2012 Thailand was the number 1 destination across the world for overseas hospital visits. It's not only the beaches of Thailand that are first class. With heavy investment in private hospitals and the development of medical technologies, Thailand is very much on a par with the quality of hospitals you will find in the west. This coupled with considerably lower fees has seen Thailand rise to prominence as a major player in the world healthcare market. Across Thailand you will find over 1000 public hospitals and some 300 + private institutes. With each hospital specialising in a variety of procedures and parts of the anatomy you can be assured that your entire healthcare needs will be attended to.
Private and Public Hospitals in BangkokMany associate Bangkok with stunning temples, bustling streets, sumptuous cuisine, energetic nightlife and unrivalled shopping. These factors play a major role in attracting overseas visitors to Thailand's capital. However there is a growing trend of the number of tourists utilising the substantial benefits of healthcare services in the country and has seen medical tourism here boom. This is partly down to the vast improvement of quality of hospitals found in Bangkok. Billions of Baht has been spent on state of the art private and international hospitals in the Bangkok region. Some of these hospitals are heavily featured in the press across the world such is the statue and reputation they have gained. In Bangkok today you will find nearly 150 hospitals, two thirds of which are privately owned and run, with the remaining public state hospitals. All of these hospitals are registered with the Ministry of Public Health's Medical Registration Division to ensure the highest of standards of maintained. The 40 + Public hospitals in Bangkok tend to be owned by institutes such as universities, the army, police and the department of medical services. Some of the privately owned hospitals are affiliates of the larger private hospitals. Clean beds and first class facilities are a given within all privately owned hospitals. As many as 500 beds are available in the larger hospitals meaning waiting times are almost non-existent. It may well surprise some the high standards that the hospitals offer. Surgeons and physicians with experience of studying in Europe and the USA are readily available. With all staff attentive and English speaking, your needs are never overlooked. While in many countries in the west such high standards and facilities usually come at a premium this is not the case in Thailand. You can expect to save as much as 70% for identical treatments here versus overseas nations. One example to highlight this in an incident that was reported a few years ago where an American citizen came to Bangkok for coronary artery bypass surgery. The cost for his operation was just $12,000 dollars, which would have cost him a staggering $100,000 back in the USA. With so many hospitals located across the city finding one shouldn't prove too much of a problem. However finding a hospital that meets the standards or able to attend to what you require may not be so straightforward. If you are staying in Thailand long term it is probably in your best interest to find a hospital nearby to you that matches the expectation levels you expect if any unfortunate circumstances arise. If you are unable to speak Thai, then using a private or international hospital is strongly advised. Some public hospitals may be able to assist you and have a small number of English speakers on hand. However you will have a higher concentration of English speaking staff and Doctors to attend to your requirements with the private or international option. Before any treatment or appointment you will need to register with the hospital. All hospitals require new patients to register upon or before entering the hospital. The larger Hospitals with websites will have the necessary forms available online for you to complete in advance while others will provide for you at the hospital itself. You will need your passport in order to complete your registration.
Treatments, Surgery and EmergenciesWhilst none of us want to experience a genuine medical emergency ourselves, it is important that we are prepared and make the necessary precautions to ensure if a situation arises we are appropriately prepared. If in the unfortunate circumstances of a medical emergency you have a number of options to get you attended to as efficiently as possible. Firstly you can dial the public emergency services number 1669 that is a nationwide number. Here they will arrange for a public ambulance to take you to the nearest hospital to be attended to. Alternatively some of the larger institutes have their own vehicle on standby to attend to any emergency medical situations. It is to your advantage that you store this number in your phone or have to hand at all times as numbers tend to be longer then 4 digits are harder to remember. There is generally a charge for this service. If you are intentions are to work while you stay in the kingdom of Thailand then one of the criteria's for applying for a work permit is to complete a medical. This can be done at all hospitals and is usually over in minutes. The certificate is issued providing you are not insane or mentally sick, suffering from leprosy, third stage syphilis, tuberculosis, drug addiction, alcoholism, and elephantiasis. Due to the nature of this a public hospital would be the cheapest option, however you would be more quickly attended to in a private hospital. Cosmetic surgery in Bangkok is one of the fastest growing medical markets especially with overseas visitors due to the beneficial costs involved. Within the larger hospitals you will find an extensive variety of procedures available to include Breast Augmentation, Facelifts and Liposuction. With in excess of 150 hospitals across Bangkok it is highly likely that all your medical requirements will be catered for. Whilst most hospital will cover all standard procedures if your needs require something more specialist then there are still many hospitals on hand to assist you.
Payments and Medical InsuranceAll treatments, surgery or procedures are required to be made in full before hand. Cash and all major credit cards are normally accepted by the hospitals but it is worthwhile checking if possible before hand. Exceptions to this are if you are covered by medical or travel insurance. If your intended method of payment is to use insurance to pay for your medical treatment, here are a few things to consider beforehand. Generally, private medical insurance DOES NOT cover cosmetic surgery or medical treatments considered 'elective', this is more so if you are traveling from outside of Thailand for your treatment. It is advised to read your insurance policy thoroughly to clarify if your medical expenses are reimbursable. If your insurance company has agreed to pay for your treatment, they will need to provide you with a letter of guarantee or authentication to include terms and conditions in order to qualify. In some cases your insurer may have an established agreement with certain hospitals in Bangkok. This is worth checking prior to registering with a hospital or in some cases selecting your insurance company. The terms for payments should be outlined by your agreement. If not you will be expected to pay for your treatment initially and then submit a claim to your insurance company to seek a refund of costs incurred.