Malaysia's Quality Healthcare Continues To Soar
The Expat|July 2017

Malaysia has established itself as one of the top choices worldwide for those seeking medical treatments abroad. For expats living here, this just adds another layer of appeal for their home away from home. The Expat editorial team break down the reasons driving healthcare tourism and why expats in Malaysia are among the biggest beneficiaries.

As people living in countries such as the UK and the US know all too well, medical costs can be frightfully expensive. Even though many countries offer subsidised services at government hospitals, the waiting lists are often lengthy, and the alternative – private hospitals – have price tags that are exorbitantly high for people seeking treatment.

With the relative ease of international travel allowing people to think more globally, these healthcare troubles have given rise to a new type of international traveller: medical tourists, who get their treatment on their timetable, pay a fraction of the cost than they would pay on their home turf, all while enjoying a bit of a holiday at the same time!

WHAT IS MEDICAL TOURISM?

Healthcare tourism, or medical tourism, essentially refers to the practice of travelling to another country for medical treatment. As mentioned, the reasons for doing so range from poor quality services at home to the long waiting lists often in practice at hospitals in countries such as the UK to prohibitively expensive price tags.

A whole range of treatments are on offer for the healthcare tourist in a variety of countries. The most common treatments are elective or non-critical medical procedures, as well as aesthetic and dermatological services. It could be as simple a procedure as dental treatment or teeth whitening, while other health tourists travel for more complex needs such as cardiac surgery or hip replacements.

One aspect of healthcare tourism that is becoming more and more popular with health tourists – especially those from Europe and the US – is wellness. This refers to the holistic maintenance and support of the overall well-being of individuals and, in an increasingly stressful world, is becoming more important.

People seek chances to rest, recuperate, and rejuvenate themselves, spending time in spas and generally slowing down, enjoying being pampered at a much lower cost than in their home country.

AWARD-WINNING HEALTHCARE

 Malaysia is fast becoming one of the most popular destinations in the world for health tourists, and it is routinely given high rankings in international lists, often appearing among the top health tourism destinations worldwide. This interest has in turn given rise to a greater number of top-quality medical centres that cater to the needs of health tourists arriving from all corners of the globe.

The proof is in the ever-increasing numbers. Last year, Malaysia’s Travel Health Council (MHTC) recorded over one million healthcare tourists, who contributed over RM1 billion in hospital revenue (compared to 859,000 in 2015). And those figures don’t include healthcare sought by foreigners who were already living here!

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