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Challenges

In its attempt to develop medical tourism, Turkey faces a number of challenges, the most important of which being the low of physicians and nurses in the population as well as a shortage in medical infrastructure. Although Turkey’s medical education institutions can supply relatively high numbers of graduates each year, Turkey still lags behind other OECD countries in terms of adequacy of its medical human resources. The main problem is that few of the medical and non-medical personnel in healthcare institutions can speak foreign language, which constitutes a major challenge, and increasing number of private hospitals has caused a major brain drain from public to private sector. This situation has led to inequality in access to health care.

Table 12.5 Cost comparison of surgeries in selected countries (in US$)

USA

Costa Rica

India

S. Korea

Mexico

Thailand

Malaysia

Poland

Singapore

Turkey

Fleart Bypass

123,000

27,000

7900

26,000

27,000

15,000

12,100

14,000

17,200

13,900

Heart Valve Replacement

170,000

30,000

9500

39,900

28,200

17,200

13,500

19,000

16,900

17,200

Hip Replacement

40,364

13,600

7200

21,000

13,500

17,000

8000

5500

13,900

13,900

Hip Resurfacing

28,000

13,200

9700

19,500

12,500

13,500

12,500

9200

16,350

10,100

Knee Replacement

35,000

12,500

6600

17,500

12,900

14,000

7700

8200

16,000

10,400

Dental Implant

2500

800

900

1350

900

1720

1500

925

2700

1100

Gastric Bypass

25,000

12,900

7000

10,900

11,500

16,800

9900

9750

13,700

13,800

Rhinoplasty

6500

3800

2400

3980

3800

3300

2200

2500

2200

3100

Tummy Tuck

8000

5000

3500

5000

4500

5300

3900

3550

4650

4000

Lasik (both eyes)

4000

2400

1000

1700

1900

2310

3450

1850

3800

1700

Cataract surgery (per eye)

3500

1700

1500

2100

1800

3000

750

3250

1600

Abbreviated from http://medicaltourism.com/Forms/price-comparison.aspx

In spite of the developments in medical tourism, it is not possible to say that medical tourism is spread evenly across the country. Medical tourism has achieved great success in the more developed provinces of the country such as Istanbul, Antalya, Ankara, and Izmir, while the rest of the country has not been able to attract many international patients. Lack of transportation possibilities, inadequate health and tourism infrastructure, insufficiency experienced in medical tourism marketing could be shown as the underlying reasons of this gap. In order to reach medical tourism targets, it is necessary to make an extra effort in order to enhance tourism and health infrastructure and provide extra support to investors who want to make an investment in the less developed regions of Turkey (Erdogan and Yilmaz 2012).

Political and military conflicts in the region may also negatively affect any further development of medical tourism in Turkey. As Turkey is often associated with the Middle East, any war or terrorist attack in the region that makes the news may affect the destination selection of medical tourists. Negative news from the region could also affect foreign investments in Turkey’s medical infrastructure.

 
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