Is Singapore for Me?
Considerations when choosing Singapore
The medical tourism industry is serious business to Singapore, which in 2003 formed a multi-agency government-industry partnership called SingaporeMedicine that is committed to strengthening the country’s position as Asia’s leading medical hub and promoting it as a world-class destination for advanced patient care.
The partnership is working. Thirteen hospitals and medical centers in Singapore have earned accreditation from the Joint Commission International (JCI), the main hospital accreditation agency in the United States. The International Organization for Standardization has also certified eleven hospitals here. In 2010, the International Institute for Management Development’s World Competitiveness Yearbook said Singapore had Asia’s best healthcare infrastructure, and ranked it third out of 55 countries in the world. You’d be hard-pressed to find better care anywhere.
Singapore’s superbly trained medical professionals have also achieved several world firsts, including the first procedure to handle an ectopic pregnancy with a single incision through the belly button, harvesting stem cells from bone marrow to grow knee cartilage, and separating a pair of conjoined twins linked at the head. The use of robotics during surgery is also highly advanced here.
Singapore is also a solid choice for medical travelers who prefer a high degree of safety and a place that’s not too exotic when it comes to customs and atmosphere— the island has a very Western and cosmopolitan feel. The medical expertise is unquestionably high, and the range of treatments and procedures available is just as impressive. You’ll also be impressed at the clean and tidy nature of this city-state and its ultramodern, secure environment. You don’t have to range too far for a great travel experience, either, if that’s part of your reason for being here. Singapore’s multicultural society is a welcoming one.
A few caveats: In general, Singapore is the highest-priced option in the region, and for certain procedures you may pay as much as you do in countries such as the United States and the UK. The weather is basically hot and sticky all year. Singapore is also very rule-oriented, and there are hefty fines for smoking, eating and drinking and several other everyday activities here if you happen to do them in a public venue such as a park, shopping mall or library. There are plenty of signs warning you about it, too, so no excuses. And while there are countless things for tourists to do on the island, the place is small, and you’ll need a visa and transportation to explore the neighboring islands of Malaysia and Indonesia. Despite that, a global project called Blue Zones recently named Singapore the “happiest country in Asia.”
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