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Bangkok Dusit to raise bar for medical destinations

Bangkok Dusit is the holding company for Royal Bangkok Hospital as well as owning a total of 17 hospitals in Thailand, two in Cambodia, and a planned super class medical destination in Abu Dhabi. The CEO of Royal was recently interviewed for ArabianBusiness.com and gave some hints about where they are headed in the competition for medical tourism customers.

If you read the story here you will note a lot of the already well known information about Thailand as a medical tourism destination. You may also find it curious how they link Thailand’s recent national health care scheme, the so-called 30-baht scheme, to the rise of medical tourism. There some terribly inaccurate implications in there, as if that scheme results in good, or even passable medical care for most Thais. After being in place for years it is a standing joke among Thais that the slogan that once was “30-baht for any disease” is really “Paracetamol for any disease”. Virtually free medical care has had the expected results, running up huge government deficits, resulting in a backlash of cost cutting to public hospitals, forcing reductions of staff and delays in facilities maintenance and purchases, and the fleeing of doctors to the private section.

That last effect may in fact be a help to medical tourism in Thailand, with many doctors escaping the public health sector for better pay, facilities and workloads in the private sector. Whether or not it is a contributing factor the medical tourism business in Thailand is developing rapidly. And now that standards have been set so high for medical care, hospitality, and pleasantness of stay during treatment, what’s next? Dr Chatree Duangnet, CEO of the Royal Bangkok Hospital, basically says the sky is the limit. He hints that the new center that the Bangkok Dusit group plans to open in Abu Dhabi will be a 5-star resort with an integrated hospital. Details are scant but it is believed they will be partnering with a major luxury resort chain.

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