Thailand has also been a forerunner as far as Medical Tourism is concerned. Its hospitals boast of JCAHO accreditation and people travel for cardaic and cosmetic surgeries. Other advantages , apart from cost are lower crime rate, modern infrastructure, clean environments, exotic loacles, famous thai spas, doctors with western degrees and modern medical services.
The Medical tourism in Thailand flourished due to the collapsing of its currency in 1997. Local hospitals started attracting westerners to increase profits. They started giving attractive packages and luxury accomodations. Most hospitals are located in resort areas or huge park-like grounds. Low labour costs are passed on to the patients resulting in competetive packages. The kind of nursing is also customised and is better than expected by western patients.
It attracts tourists from America and Southeast Aisa. It also has special worldwide medical insurance plans targeted for Overseas patients.
Modern Medical services like sex change operations, eye surgeries, kidney dialysis and organ transplantation are also catered to. Approximately 150,000 overseas patients were treated in 2005 in a Bangkok hospital and the Medical Tourism earnings are estimated at 36.4 billion baht in 2006.
Phuket is the Mecca for people willing to undergo sex change surgeries, listed as the top ten surgeries for which people travel to Thailand
A coronary artery bypass surgery at the Bumrungrad International hospital, Bangkok costs US$12,000, which is far less than $100,000 cost in the US. The Bumrungrad hopital has UK, Europe and the USA accredited personnel, US and UK certified doctors and more than 200 surgeons.
The Bangkok General Hospital, caters to Eastern Asia and thus has a dedicated Japanese wing, whereas the Phyathai Hospitals Group has 22 language interpreters apart from the enligsh speaking staff.
The downsize of the Medical tourism in Thailand is the presence of diseases like Dengue and an alarming AIDS problem. Apart from these it has received high marks for quality from the US Consular and has links with Sheffield Hallam University.