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Medical Tourism - Destination - China

General Informations

map

China
Location East Asia, China is bordered by 14 nations, counted clockwise from south: Vietnam, Laos, Burma, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia and North Korea.
Capital Beijing
Biggest cities (population) Shanghai (18,542,200), Beijing (17,430,000)
Inhabitants 1.3 billion people
Politics Communist state
Religion 56% Buddhist, 11% Muslim, 33% Christian
Currency Chinese Yuan (Renminbi)
GDP $9.712 trillion
Official language(s) Standard Mandarin
Climate Subtropical in the south to subarctic in the north with highs of 28°C and lows of -10°C in the central and south part of China
Time zone GMT+ 8
Happy Planet Index (HPI) 20

Cultural Aspects

General Culture

China is among the world’s top travel destinations. The Chinese culture is one of the world’s oldest and most complex cultures. The area in which the culture is dominant covers a large geographical region in eastern Asia, with customs and traditions varying greatly between towns, cities and provinces.

Safety

China ranks 80 in the Global Peace Index (GPI). It is safer compared to other Asian countries, but compared to the rest of the world, its score is relatively low.

Tourists Attractions and Sights

  • The Great Wall winds its way across China covering over 4,000 miles (6,700km).
  • Forbidden City: the largest, best-preserved, mass group of palaces in China, if not in the world.
  • The Terracotta Warriors: the terracotta army, buried in 210 BC with the first emperor of the Qin dynasty.
  • Tiananmen Square: the largest square in the world located next to the Forbidden City in Beijing.
  • The bund: Shanghai’s fabulous neoclassical and art deco sweep of architectural grandeur.

Visa Requirements

There are no particular difficulties for travellers entering China. The main requirement is a passport (valid for travel for six months after the expiry date of the visa) and a visa. As a general rule, visas cannot be obtained at the border. When this report was written, visas were not required for most western nationals to visit Hong Kong or Macau. Some visa-free transits exist. Chinese Immigration officers are scrupulous and, by definition, highly bureaucratic, but not difficult or overly officious. Travellers arriving in China will be given a health declaration form and an arrival form to complete.

Infrastructure

Transportation

The most common way of transportation for long distances in China is by railway. The railway system is affordable and well-organised. The bigger cities in China are also equipped with a subway system. The amount of highways has increased drastically over the last few years and it is possible to reach every city in China by bus or car. However, the road conditions can be very poor in remote areas.

For short distances, the taxis are the preferable means of transportation. Taxies operate in all Chinese cities and are relatively cheap compared with western standards. The four biggest airports are located in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. Domestic travel by plane is getting more popular in China. Shanghai and Guangzhou are the largest sea ports in China. Both ports are connected with large and well-developed navigable inland waterways. However, the standards are different from western countries and most public services do not have English speaking staff.

Accommodation

In both Beijing and Shanghai, most of the major hotel chains are present, such as Marriott Hotels and Resorts, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Accor Hotels, Intercontinental Hotels Group and Golden Tulip Hospitality Group. Accommodation differs from budget to high end hotels. Budget hotels and hostels are more economical than western ones, although five star hotels have about the same price as in western countries. Concerning medical tourism, there are no hospitals working together with hotels available in China.

In total there are 506 airports in the country. In addition, there is an extensive rail and road network throughout the UK. Furthermore, one can use the channel tunnel to travel to mainland Europe. In general, it is very convenient to travel from the UK to European countries and the prices are reasonable.

Health Care System

WHO ranking 144
Physicians per 10,000 population 14 (2000-2009)
Nurses per 10,000 population 10 (2000-2009)
GDP spent on health care 4.3% (2007)
Education period of doctors 5 years
Education period of specialists Not available

Health Care Providers

China is reforming its healthcare system. The New Rural Co-operative Medical Care System (NRCMCS) is a 2005 initiative to overhaul the healthcare system, particularly intended to make it more affordable for the rural, poorer population. Under the NRCMCS, the annual cost of medical coverage is 50 Yuan (US$7) per person. Of that, 20 Yuan are paid by the central government, 20 Yuan by the provincial government and a contribution of 10 Yuan is made by the patient. As of September 2007, around 80% of the rural population of China had signed up (about 685 million people). If patients go to a small hospital or clinic in their local town, the system will cover roughly 70-80% of their bill. If the patient visits a county clinic, the percentage of the cost being covered falls to about 60%. If the patient requires a specialist in a modern city hospital, the plan would cover about 30% of the bill.

Insurance

Insurance is not compulsory in China; however with the new systems, the majority of Chinese inhabitants have a certain health insurance (90%). It is always possible to buy additional private health insurance to get an extra coverage for special treatment. The NRCMCS covers only partly basic treatment. Because of the amount of inhabitants in China, there is also a big difference in demand. Chinese health insurance companies therefore offer a wide assortment of different health insurance packages.

Top Facilities

China has 8 JCI accredited hospitals, the following facilities are considered in this project:

  • Beijing United Family Hospital and Clinics
  • Clifford Hospital
  • Shanghai United Family Hospital and Clinics
  • Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital
  • TEDA International Cardiovascular Hospital

General Medical Tourism Information

China is the world’s fourth largest country for inbound tourism. The number of overseas general tourists was 55 million in 2007. Foreign exchange income was 41.9 billion US dollars, China’s medical specialties include: cardiology, neurology, orthopaedics and others. The cost of the medical procedures in China is 80 per cent less than the same procedures in the US.

A number of private and governmental hospitals in major cities have established international departments. Many leading hospitals provide treatment integrating Traditional Chinese Medicine with western medical technology and techniques. China is home to leading stem cell research and hospitals that offer Westerners stem cell treatment that are still considered experimental or have yet to be approved in their home country.

Steams

The inbound medical tourism streams to China could not be determined because the Chinese government does not record the number of medical tourists.

Reasons

  • China is home to leading stem cell research
  • China is the world’s fourth largest country for inbound tourism
  • Many leading hospitals provide treatment integrating Traditional Chinese Medicine with western medical technology and techniques.
  • Tourist attractions such as the Great Wall in Beijing, Terracotta Warriors in Xian
  • Affordability

Spezialisation

  • Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Stem cell research and treatment
  • Cardiology
  • Neurology
  • Orthopaedics

ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Affordability of air travel
  • Traditional Chinese medicine
  • China is the world's fourth largest country for inbound tourism
  • China is home to leading stem cell research
  • Technologically, China is among the more developed nations on earth today
  • Affordability
  • Infrastructure
  • Good medical education
  • Human resources
  • Availability of medical personnel trained in Europe or the USA
  • A number of hospitals in major cities have established an international department
  • Chinese quality and safety in the health care system has a negative international reputation
  • Visa requirements, diffi cult procedures
  • Cultural clash
  • Language barrier
  • Information censorship

Conclusion

China is a late developer in the medical tourism industry. Until now it had a negative international reputation regarding quality and safety in the healthcare industry. The cost of the medical procedures in China is 80 per cent less than the same procedures in the USA. Nevertheless medical tourism in China is growing due to numerous opportunities such as: implementing international departments in hospitals; the availability of medical personnel who have mainly been trained in Europe or the USA. Furthermore, China is among the most technologically developed nations on earth today.

Top Facility Chart

China Beijing United Family Hospital and Clinics Clifford Hospital Shanghai United Family Hospital and Clinics Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital TEDA International Cardiovascular Hospital
Location and website Beijing http://www.unitedfamilyhospitals. com/ en/bj/ Guangzhou http://www.cliffordhospital. org Shanghai http://www.unitedfamilyhospitals. com/ en/sh/ Hangzhou http://english.srrsh. com/ Tianjin http://en.tedaich.com
Accreditations or certifications JCI JCI JCI JCI, Triple A JCI
Capacity of hospital beds 50 beds 600 beds No beds 1200 beds 620 beds
Possible for accompanying person to stay in room No, but assistance with accommodation Only the VIP rooms No, but assistance with accommodation Yes, in the apartments N/A
Medical tourists No, focused on Expats Yes No, focused on Expats > 1000 international patients a year No
Number of medical staff doctors/nurses > 100 physicians and > 500 support workers N/A > 100 physicians and > 500 support workers > 50 physicians N/A
Type of rooms available (prices) Single rooms Typical and VIP ward, VIP suites(from €2,120 up to €4,155), New Born Baby Room No rooms 2 person shared rooms, One- or twobedroom apartments (from €60 up to €170) Normal and bigger size for both Single room and double room, apartment
International patient department Concierge, hospital focused on international patients Translator, Insurance Assistant, VISA Assistant, Concierge, hospital focused on international patients International Service Clinic (ISC), they organise all the arrangements N/A
Adaptations to cultures Yes, religion, culture and food Yes, religion room Yes, religion, culture and food Yes, religion, culture and food No
Languages spoken by staff English, French, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Farsi, Spanish, Russian and Cantonese Mandarin, Cantonese and English English, French, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Farsi, Spanish, Russian and Cantonese Mandarin Chinese and English Mandarin Chinese
Marketing of the facility/USP Direct billing, inpatient and outpatient service, JCI, focus on expats Have both inpatient and outpatient, JCI, focus on expats, relevant service for Medical Tourism, Direct billing, inpatient and outpatient service, JCI, focus on expats International Service Clinic, American management, working together with Loma Linda University Focus on cardiovascular disease, JCI.
Specialisations Emergency Medicine, dermatology, ENT, eye clinic, family counselling Oncology, confi nement centre, alternative medicine, cardiovascular department Dermatology and laser skin centre, dental, orthodontics & implants, eye clinic, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics More than 30 clinical specialties, such as; cardiology, neurology, pathology, etc. Cardiovascular

Price Chart (in €uro)

Treatment Average price in Euro
Cardiac bypass 8,000
Gastric bypass 4,300
Knee replacement 3,200
Hip replacement 5,400
Hip resurfacing 15,000
Breast augmentation 1,700
Facelift 1,800
Liposuction 1,100
Dental implants 1,200
Rhinoplasty 700
Lasik eye surgery per eye 300