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Old 18th February 2007, 20:09   #1 (permalink)
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health tourism in Turkey

This is an article that was in yesterdays ''Turkish Daily News'' which i thought might be of interest.


Turks aim high in medical tourism

Turks have eye on European patients in medical tourism

The number of people who have been sick and running from one country to the other to get well sooner than later is in the millions today. Some are seeking to receive treatment in a shorter time in Canada, some are trying to get doctor appointments easier in Britain and some are dreaming about less-expensive treatment bills in the United States, so millions every year travel to hospitals in different countries.

Many Turkish doctors have an excellent worldwide reputation. Paradoxically, Turkey is not well known in the medical tourism sector. So, Turkey is making a move to capture a greater share of the medical tourism sector in Europe and has its eye on providing patients services that are covered by health insurance plans. Hungary is the current leader in the sector.

Dünya Göz Hastanesi (World Eye Hospital) is close to signing deals with insurance companies in the Netherlands and Austria. As Dentistanbul and Anadolu Sağlık Merkezi (Anadolu Health Center) are preparing to renew their agreements, Acıbadem plays its insurance trump with nine international contracts. The Dutch Agis Health Insurance company has opened a branch in Turkey recently and directed over 150 patients to hospitals and clinics in Turkey.

Developing countries market

Since early 2000, Cuba, Hungary, India, Israel, Jordan, Greece, Lithuania, Malaysia and Thailand have begun developing their economies through health tourism, and lately Belgium, Poland and Singapore have tagged along. Now, with a few attempts in the private health sector, Turkey has aspirations to grab a share of this cake. Like the others, the primary target for Turkey is the European patient. Its proximity to Europe and the large Turkish immigrant population in Europe is adding to the likelihood of a preference for Turkey as a destination for healthcare.

Healthcare in Turkey is relatively inexpensive for procedures that insurance usually doesn't cover. Eye and dental care promises good income and should encourage investors to open clinics in those specific fields. However, the number of people coming to Turkey for health care is dropping. Along with offering inexpensive care in certain fields including eye and dental care, the objective is to attract patients seeking care that is covered by health insurance. In the process, insurance companies play the lead role. Patients from Europe prefer the cheapest countries for eye and dental treatments, which are often not covered by health insurance. But for different types of health care, they go to countries where the care they will receive is covered by their health insurances policies. For Turkey, agreements between private insurance companies and hospitals are viewed as the only way to pull European patients, who can receive health care in any country within the boundaries of European Union.

Number of hospitals to double



Dünya Göz Hospital, pioneering health tourism initiatives in Turkey, signed a deal with Agis, the largest insurance company in the Netherlands, and with Wiener Stadische Verschierung, the second largest insurance company in Europe. The hospital continues to have talks with many other insurance firms. Dünya Göz treated 20,000 foreign patients in 2006. Following these freshly signed agreements, the hospital expects 50 percent more patients in the first year of the agreements and a doubling of the 2006 figure in 2008. The hospital hopes to draw more European patients for treatments other than vision correction surgery.

Dünya Göz Hospital Group Business Development Director Selin Yıldırım Peker said, “We want to focus on other eye operations such as cataract surgery,” since no insurance company in Turkey or anywhere in the world covers laser surgery for vision correction. Foreign insurance companies cover all eye-related operations except laser surgery, according to Peker, which is the reason behind their motivation to make deals with insurance companies.

Impact of foreign insurance

Acıbadem Health Group is leading the charge to increase medical tourism in Turkey. It has signed agreements with nine international insurance companies. Business with AGIS Group, BUPA International, HTH Worldwide, Danish International Health Insurance (IHI), International SOS Assistance UK LTD, J. Van Breda & C International, Tricare Europe, British PPP Healthcare and Allianz Worldwide brings Acıbadem patients from abroad. These patients make up 5 percent of Acıbadem's total patients serviced.

A total of 500 patients from Romania, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Germany, the Netherlands and Middle Eastern countries visit Anadolu Sağlık Merkezi (Anadolu Health Center) every month and 30 percent of those patients have health insurance coverage. The center added a hotel to its campus to improve its medical tourism services and that initiative brought insurance companies AGIS, CZ/OZ and French AGF Allianz on board as partners.

European Turks prefer motherland

Since private health care has been accelerated during the 1990s, medical tourism has been a focus for the health care industry in Turkey. Partnerships with international insurance companies date back to 2002. The Dutch Agis insurance company was the first to sign a deal in Turkey. They now work together with 89 hospitals, 40 polyclinics and 49 dialyses centers from Adana to Trabzon. Until 2006 Agis only covered its customers travel expenses to Turkey, but the company has recently expanded its coverage. Duygu Helvacı of Agis-Turkey explains that 1.2 million patients, 200,000 of which are of Turkish-origin, prefer Turkey more and more for healthcare. European Turks especially are demanding to be treated in their home country. Agis provides similar services for Moroccans living in the Netherlands who prefer to go to Morocco for treatment.

First medical tourism association on the way

A planned medical tourism association is an important step toward the accomplishment of Turkey's goals in the sector. Dünya Göz is leading the way for the establishment of the foundation to be called the International Health Services Association. Dünya Göz Hospital Business Development Director Selin Yıldırım Peker summarized the objective of the association when she said, “As the first to begin working in the medical-health tourism field in eye treatment, we are trying to overcome many challenges by ourselves. We are trying to showcase the high quality of health care in Turkey to foreigners. If we gather under one roof and establish a firm control mechanism, everyone involved in medical tourism will be able to show a united front in promoting our cause and prevent mistakes that could hurt
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Old 18th February 2007, 21:51   #2 (permalink)
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Thanks for that Shirley. I'm sure a lot of us will find it very interesting and will be watching to see how it all pans out in the future.


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Old 18th February 2007, 22:33   #3 (permalink)
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Re: health tourism in Turkey

thanks for that as im waitig for hip op my be one never nos that could be the next thing to happen in the NHS
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Old 2nd January 2009, 05:33   #4 (permalink)
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Re: health tourism in Turkey

yikes......if the health profession is anything like the real estate industry, or the legal industry, or any other industry I can think of, I shudder to think of what will happen.....
And I say this because I know the turkish people and how they think. ......yikes...yikes...and yikes again.................

Shirl, I didnt read the whole article, i skimmed it, but dont you kind of shudder when you think of turkey getting into this?????

Shirl, by the way, How is Alan?
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Old 16th December 2010, 12:42   #5 (permalink)
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Re: health tourism in Turkey

Hi Tess you have just echoed my very thoughts O.M.G ,the hair on my head has just stood on its end , Won,t go into it but i think you might no my plight,5 years in may 2011
+now the big (C) makes me shudder to even think about turkey looking after me naaaaaah thanks

Kale xx
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Old 16th December 2010, 13:45   #6 (permalink)
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Re: health tourism in Turkey

I am closing this thread as it is an old thread that seems to attract spammers on a regular basis. Kale is certainly not amongst these. If people want to discuss this issue could you please start a new thread.
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