Medical tourism growing

  • 2010-01-13
  • Staff and wire reports

RIGA - The Riga-based private clinic Baltic Care has attracted its first medical tourists, with the first client a young citizen of the UK flying in for a breast enlargement operation, reports news portal The Medical Tourism Center, which represents Baltic Care in its London office, opened on Dec. 12 and immediately attracted its first patients, says the company’s representative Iveta Rapsus.
The first Baltic Care consultation in London was carried out by plastic surgeon Janis Zarzeckis. The operation itself was carried out in Riga.

Rapsus says that the medical tourists attracted by the firm are not only from the UK, but from other countries as well. This year the company is planning to open another representative office in Stockholm. “We started the new year with a patient from Germany who had facial reconstruction surgery,” says Zarzeckis.
With the high and rising costs of health care in developed economies, and medical tourism offering savings of up to 70 percent after travel expenses, the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions estimates that the medical tourism industry will recover from the current economic downturn and attain 35 percent annual growth in coming years.

The consulting firm Deloitte says that medical tourism has transitioned from “a cottage industry to an acceptable alternative for elective care that’s safe and cost effective when coordinated by reputable health plans and providers. Patients benefit from lower medical costs coupled with the use of emerging technologies of distance medicine, combined with insurance coverage for certain low-risk procedures.”
In an initiative to promote this global trend in Latvia, several leaders in the local medical field joined efforts, firms including Klinika EGV, L. konsultacijas un investicijas, Medicinas sabiedriba ARS, Veselibas centrs 4. Medical Tourism Center is the result of this collaboration.