Medical Tourism to Singapore

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The small state of Singapore is is well-known for its very stringent laws and regulations particularly in the areas involving cleanliness. These regulations are carried over to Singapore's ultra-high quality levels in healthcare and world-class facilities, making it an ideal destination for medical travelers looking for modern infrastructure, a clean and structured environment, and an English-speaking medical proffesionals.

Singapore's Healthcare System

In 2000, the World Health Organization ranked Singapore as the 6th best health system in the world, much higher than the United States, Canada ot the UK.
Hospitals and medical centers in Singapore are mostly government or public facilities, while a few are privately owned like the Raffles and Parkway hospitals.
All Singaporean hospitals offer 'top-of-the-line' healthcare services and facilities. They are serviced by English-speaking and internationally trained medical practitioners and staff.

International Hospital Accreditations

Most hospitals and specialty centers in Singapore cater to medical tourists, and practically all of them offer ultra-high quality healthcare. Most major hospitals in Singapore have international accreditation from the Joint Commission International (JCI), ISO or OHSAS. In 2011, Singapore had 18 JCI-accredited hospitals and medical centers.

Local Hospital Accreditations

Singaporean health facilities receive local accreditation from the Singapore Health Promotion Board, the Singapore Laboratory Accreditation System (SINGLAS), the Singapore Accreditation Council (SAC) and the Singaporean Ministry of Health.
The Health Sciences Authority of Singapore and the Singapore Accreditation Council control and regulate the certification of medical devices and other health products.

Physicians Accreditations

Medical practitioners' standards and practices are regulated by the Singapore Medical Council, Singapore Nursing Board, Singapore Dental Board, Pharmacy Board and the Laboratory Board.

Common Treatments done in Singapore by Medical Tourists

Singaporean hospitals and healthcare facilities offer a wide array of procedures and services for medical travelers, which include but are not limited to the following:

Cost of Medical Treatment in Singapore

The following are cost comparisons between Medical procedures in Singapore and equivalent procedures in the United States: [sources 1, 2, 3]
Cardiac Surgery
Procedure US Hospitals Singapore Average Savings
Heart Bypass $55,000 - $130,000 $13,000 - $18,500 70-80%
Heart Valve Replacement $130,000 - $160,000 $12,000 - 13,000 90-92%
Coronary Angioplasty $42,000 - $57,000 $11,500 - $13,000 70-77%
Coronary Angiography $5,500 - $6,000 $1,300 - $1,500 70-75%
Orthopedic Surgery
Procedure US Hospitals Singapore Average Savings
Hip Replacement $24,000 - $43,000 $12,000 - $16,000 50-65%
Hip Resurfacing $45,000 - $50,000 $13,000 - $15,000 70-75%
Knee Replacement $38,000 - $42,000 $12,000 - $13,500 65-70%
Spinal Fusion $60,000 - $63,000 $8,000 - $10,000 80-85%
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Procedure US Hospitals Singapore Average Savings
Face Lift (Rhytidectomy) $19,000 - $21,000 $6,500 - $7,500 60-65%
Breast Augmentation/Reduction (Mammoplasty) $9,000 - $11,000 $7,000 - $9,000 18-20%
Liposuction (Lipoplasty) $14,000 - $16,000 $4,500 - $5,500 60-65%
Nose Surgery (Rhinoplasty) $6,500 - $7,500 $3,500 - $4,500 40-46%
Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) $8,000 - $9,000 $6,000 - $6,500 25-40%
Eyelid Surgery $6,500 - $7,500 $3,500 - $4,000 45-50%
Eye / Ophthalmology
Procedure US Hospitals Singapore Average Savings
LASIK Eye Surgery $2,000 - $2,500 $1,500 - $2,000 20-25%
General and Cosmetic Dentistry
Procedure US Hospitals Singapore Average Savings
Root Canal $800 - $1200 $350 - $900 25-60%
Other procedures
Procedure US Hospitals Singapore Average Savings
Stem Cell Transplant $200,000 - $250,000 $72,000 - $90,000 60-65%
Hysterectomy $19,000 - $21,000 $5,500 - $6,500 70-75%

Malpractice and Liability Laws in Singapore

Doctors in Singapore are required to have suitable medical malpractice insurance, but these are not as expensive as compared to the US. The costs are recovered through payments for medical procedures and treatments as shouldered by patients.

Pros

  • Quality healthcare system

    The WHO ranked the quality of healthcare in Singapore as 6th in the world.
  • Modern and developed country

    Singapore is a highly urbanized, orderly and spotless country so medical tourists can avoid the chaotic environment which is typical to some Asian countries.
  • JCI accreditations

    There are several JCI-certified hospitals and healthcare facilities in Singapore.
  • English is widely spoken

    English is one of Singapore's official languages and is spoken by all doctors and medical staff.

Cons

  • More expensive then other Asian countries

    Medical procedures and treatments done in Singapore are more expensive compared to other Asian medical tourism destinations such as Thailand, India, Philippines and Malaysia.
  • Climate

    The climate in Singapore is hot and humid. This may cause a measure of discomfort to most Westerners, particularly during the post-procedure and recovery stages.
  • Living costs

    Prices of goods, transportation and accommodation in Singapore are more expensive than most Asian countries
  • Inconvenient flight from Europe/North America

    For US, Canadian and European medical tourists, travel times to Singapore are very long

Traveling to Singapore

Non-stop or single-stop flights are available from various destinations to Singapore through the flagship Singapore Airlines and other international airlines.
Average estimated travel time in hours
From/To Singapore
New York City 18
Los Angeles 16
Australia (Sydney) 7
Indonesia (Jakarta) 2
Philippines (Manila) 3.5
UAE (Dubai) 7
Toronto 21
Vancouver 18
United Kingdom 14

Singapore Entry and Exit Requirements

As a general requirement for entry and exit to Singapore, all foreign visitors are required to have the following items:
passport/travel document with a minimum validity of 6 months;
a return or onward ticket; entry requirements for the visitor's next destination;
sufficient funds that would support their stay and purpose in Singapore;
and required applicable Visa or visit pass as described below.
Visiting nationals from the UK, Australia, Canada, USA and EU countries do not require a Visa upon entry and will be issued a Social Visit Pass upon arrival, provided that they comply with the general requirements as described above. The visit pass is valid for 30 days upon arrival. Other countries listed in Singapore's Assessment Level I and Level II countries are required to have either a Business Visa or a Social Visit Visa prior to entry to Singapore.
Should there be a need for an extension in stay, or if the required pre-procedure and post-procedure duration requirements extend beyond 30 days, the medical traveler should arrange for an extension pass (valid up to 90 days) from the Embassy of the Republic of Singapore or the Consulate-General of Singapore before leaving the United States or Canada. If the need for extension is determined while already in Singapore, special permits can be arranged and obtained from the Immigrations and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore.

Statistics of Medical Tourism in Singapore

Singapore attracts hundreds of thousands of medical tourists per year, according to exit surveys conducted on tourists by the Singapore Tourism Board. Singapore's international patients are mostly from Asian countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, UAE and China.
The figures shown below were reported by Mr Jason Yap, a director in the Singapore Tourism Board:
Number of Singapore medical tourists based on official surveys
2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
210,000 230,000 320,000 374,000 410,000
Hospitals in Singapore