FOXTROTS

 

Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning. 

Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance.

 

2009 April 08

Singapore. Healthy growth.

Singapore is probably Asia’s leading medical-tourist (MT) destination, but numbers vary wildly.

 

Singapore’s VPO reports around 410,000 international patients (year not given, but probably 2007), and targets 1mn in 2012, which would mean an average 20% annual growth. Some other reports give 500,000 in 2007. Others use 750,000 (in Asia in 2007), growing to 6mn in 2012, which would mean an average 50% annual growth.

 

Probably most Singapore MTs come from Indonesia, although the US may be the biggest worldwide MT source. In 2008, about 180,000 left the US for healthcare, and about 350,000 are expected to leave in 2010, which would mean an average 40% annual growth.

 

Research & Markets – but whose figures are often contradictory and not sourced – reports that there were 2.9mn MTs in India, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand in 2007. (That would be almost 6% of regional visitor arrivals, which we find too high to believe – unless R&M’s MT definition includes visits to pharmacy, doctor, etc.) It expects an average annual growth of 17.6% over 2007-12.

 

Singapore has created Singapore Medicine, sponsored by the Ministry of Health, Economic Development Board, International Enterprise Singapore, and the VPO, Singapore Tourism Board.

 

And Singapore is moving in the same direction as Korea – which plans a purpose-built ‘Healthcare Town’ on its Jeju island. HT is expected to cost US$315mn to build; Korea (not just Jeju) targets 100,000 MTs in 2011, when HT is due to open.

 

The name of Singapore’s centre is not much better than Korea’s Healthcare Town; its ‘mediplex’ sounds more like a treatment. Plans for the 19-floor complex at Farrer Park, due 2010, include a hospital, private medical suites, and hotel.

 

As one example of lower costs, a US$130,000 heart bypass operation in the US would cost about US$20,000 in Singapore. The main ‘clients’ for such medical services are insurance companies.

 

The Fox