Public hospitals shouldn’t promote medical tourism?

Source: David Precious/CC BY 2.0Source: David Precious/CC BY 2.0

Singapore tops in medical tourism

I refer to the article “Singapore tops for medical tourism, but rivals catching up quickly” (Straits Times, Jun 6).

Most expensive in Asian countries?

It states that “According to data from a medical tourism index released last month, Singapore was ranked the most attractive among seven Asian countries in terms of “patient experience”, but was also one of the least attractive where costs were concerned.”

Wait long long in public hospitals? 

In this connection, there have been several media reports over the years, citing experiences of delays and long waiting periods at public healthcare institutions.

Medical tourism increased?

Should public hospitals be actively promoting medical tourism to foreigners to the tune of, as I understand it, about 850,000 (348,000 in 2007) medical tourists in a year in 2012?

“Fighting” for medical treatment?

So, we do not just have foreigners and PRs literally fighting for stretched public healthcare facilities and capacity in Singapore, but we may also be competing against foreign medical tourists who can pay higher non-subsidised fees (and arguably sometimes may be able to jump the queue – to the detriment of Singaporeans seeking subsidised medical treatment).

As to “Singapore Tourism Board (STB) data shows medical tourism receipts fell to $832 million in 2013, down from $1.1 billion the year before. They rose to $994 million the following year.

Why don’t publish statistics anymore?

But since 2015, STB has stopped providing the figure” – why have we stopped providing the statistics?

Public hospitals should stop promoting medical tourism?

Public hospitals should not be in the business of medical tourism, as it erodes the already limited healthcare resources for Singaporeans.

Leong Sze Hian


About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), invited to speak more than 200 times in over 30 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of Indonesia and Brunei. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.