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Medical Tourism - Destination - Czech Republic

General Informations

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The Czech Republic is a potential competitor within the European medical tourism industry as it offers 17% cost saving to UK citizens and is already attracting foreign patients from the UK, Austria and Germany. The country is known for providing quality dental care and is a popular tourist destination, with Prague being the major attraction. The Czech Republic is a safe country that offers a developed infrastructure and is a part of the EU. Currently, 9,000 medical tourists are being attracted annually by its reputation for cosmetic surgery, although recent promotion has been implemented to welcome those seeking assisted reproduction which, however, has been met with problems due to national laws.

Czech Republic
Localisation Europe, bordering Germany, Poland, Slovakia and Austria
Capital Prague
Inhabitants 10,476,543 (2009)
Biggest cities (population) Prague (1,233,211), Brno (370,592), Ostrava (307,767)
Politics parliamentary republic
Religion atheism (59%), Christianity (29.3%), other (11.7%)
Currency Czech Koruna (CZK) = € 0,038619
GDP € 144,534 million, 0.35% of the world’s GDP
Official language(s) Czech
Climate temperate continental climate; average temperature in winter around 1ºC and in summer around 18ºC
Time zone GMT +1, summer time GMT +2
Happy Planet Index (HPI) 92

Cultural Aspects

General Culture

During its historical development, Eastern European and German influences have largely affected the Czech culture. This resulted in a rich and diverse culture with distinct art, music and literature. Due to its communistic past, the country’s culture is considered to be rather formal and closed. Other languages that are spoken besides Czech is German and Russian. The latter mainly by the older generation. English is not widely understood. Czech cuisine puts strong emphasis on soup, potatoes and meat. Meals, therefore, tend to be heavy. The country has a traditional beer culture.

Safety

The Czech Republic ranks 11 on the GPI, indicating that it is a safe country for tourists.

Tourists Attractions and Sights

  • Prague: a city famous for its history and romantic atmosphere. It comprises numerous historical sites and is on the UNESCO World Heritage List
  • National Theatre: one of the most famous symbols of Czech history and art, located in the city centre of Prague
  • Karlovy Vary: a renowned spa town in the west of the country, famous for its mineral springs
  • Kuntna Hora: one of the royal centres of the Habsburg Empire, comprising of two cathedrals and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Cesky Krumlov: 13th century medieval town, listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List

Visa Requirements

As the Czech Republic is an EU member state, citizens from the EU and EEA member states, Switzerland and other countries as mentioned below do not require a visa:

Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Panama, Paraguay, Salvador, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, St Christopher and Nevis, US, Uruguay, Vatican City.

All other nationalities require a visa prior to entering.

Infrastructure

Transportation

The country’s main international airport is located near Prague. Other minor airports receiving international flights are located in the bigger cities. The density of cars in the Czech Republic is considerably lower than in other European countries, therefore, congestion is less frequent. The road network is generally of good quality, although there can be damaged stretches, even in the bigger cities. The railway network is extensive as is the bus system. Taxis, however, tend to be very expensive as many drivers refuse to use the meter.

Accommodation

International hotel chains in Prague are Hilton Worldwide, Four Seasons, Rezidor Group, Accor Hotels, Intercontinental Hotels Group, Marriott Hotels and Resorts and Golden Tulip Hospitality Group. Accommodation is relatively cheap and ranges from budget hotels and hostels to luxury hotels with international standards. There are no hospitals that work with hotels; however, facilities can arrange accommodation for their patients.

Health Care System

WHO ranking 48
Physicians per 10,000 population 36.6 (2006)
Nurses per 10,000 population 91.1 (2006)
GDP spent on health care 7% (2008)
Education period of doctors 6 years
Education period of specialists additional up to 5 years

Health Care Providers

At the end of 2008, there were a total of 26,270 health care facilities registered in the Czech Republic; of which 50% were in secondary and tertiary care. There were 201 hospitals, of which 31.8% are private, and 68.2% are public. The private hospitals only accounted for 10.6% of the total 66,668 beds. Around three quarters of the outpatient facilities have been privatised.

Insurance

Health care in the Czech Republic is provided primarily on the basis of statutory health insurance. Any person with a permanent residence is entitled to health insurance, as are people employed by a company whose registered base is in the Czech Republic. For this reason, it is thought that 100% of the population of the Czech Republic is covered by the public health insurance scheme.

Reforms/Policies

Since the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, the Czech Republic has been under a reform that aims to dissolve the regional health authorities, reorient the district health authorities and increase the hospital funding from the government.

General Medical Tourism Information

In 2008, 6,653,053 foreign tourists visited the Czech Republic; out of these 9,000 came for cosmetic and plastic surgery only. Due to the fact that European citizens may enter the country without a visa the exact number of total medical tourists as well as generated revenue are not known.

Being a long renowned spa destination, the Czech Republic is relatively new to the international medical tourism market. Today, Prague has more than 100 clinics and hospitals treating international patients compared to only one in 1997, with staff speaking English and care based on western-style models. The Czech Republic is trying to promote assisted fertility care but due to legal restrictions (e.g. forbidden for homosexual couples) it looses out in competition with other countries.

Flows

Medical tourists who frequent the Czech Republic are British, Austrian and German although the exact percentage division is not known.

Reasons

  • Quality: the country is famous for plastic surgeons that have a thorough 16-year medical education.
  • Cost savings: when compared to the US, one can expect cost savings of 48% and when compared to the UK, one can expect savings of 17%.
  • Holiday destination: Prague is a popular tourist destination. There are also numerous packages offering a combination of medical treatment, sightseeing and spa rehabilitation.

Specialisation

The main areas of medical specialisation in the Czech Republic are:

  • Cosmetic and plastic surgery
  • Dentistry

Top Facilities

The top facilities have been selected using the following criteria’s, listed in order of importance: JCI Accreditation, ISQua accreditation, international orientation. In general national accreditation systems have not been taken into consideration, due to the fact that there are too many and judging them is out of the scope of this study. The Czech Republic has three JCI accredited facilities, however, not all of them are internationally oriented. Facilities analysed in this project are:

  • Na Homolce Hospital, Prague
  • Esthé Clinic, Prague
  • Esthesia Clinic, Prague

SWOT

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Quality of medical treatments
  • Cost savings of 48% compared to the US, 17% compared to the UK
  • Reputation for cosmetic and plastic surgery and dental care
  • Established holiday destination
  • Safe country as it ranks 11 on the GPI
  • German and English spoken by medical staff
  • Well developed infrastructure
  • A member of the EU
  • English is not widely spoken by the general population
  • The culture is rather formal and closed
  • Still not a strong competitor in the medical tourism industry

Conclusion

The Czech Republic has the potential to become a competitor within the European medical tourism industry as it offers 17% cost saving to UK citizens and is already attracting foreign patients from the UK, Austria and Germany. The Czech Republic is a safe country that has a developed infrastructure and is a part of the EU. Currently, 9,000 medical tourists are being attracted annually by its reputation for cosmetic and plastic surgery, although recent promotion has been implemented to welcome those seeking assisted reproduction. This promotion, however, has been confronted with problems due to national laws.

Top Facility Chart

Czech Republic Esthesia Clinic Na Homolce Hospital Esthé Clinic
Location and website Prague www.esthesia.cz Prague www.homolka.cz Prague www.esthe.cz
Accreditations or certifications No Accreditation JCI No Accreditation
Capacity of hospital beds No beds 357 beds No beds
Possible for accompanying person to stay in room No, as there are no beds No, but assistance with accommodation No, as there are no beds
Medical tourists 30% of all patients, coming from UK, Ireland and Switzerland 120 to 150 guest patients / year - mostly from US, UK, Poland and Germany Information N/A
Number of medical staff doctors/nurses 6 specialists 1,724 physicians, nurses and administration 6 specialists
Type of rooms available (prices) No rooms Single private rooms No rooms
International patient department No, but staff can make arrangements No, but staff can make arrangements No, but staff can make arrangements
Adaptations to cultures and nations Language assistance Yes, in food Language assistance
Languages spoken by staff Czech, English, German, French and Russian Czech, English, German, French and Russian Czech, English, German, French and Russian
Marketing of the facility/USP Sales of gift vouchers for treatments and special discount programs for companies No specific marketing, just word of mouth and JCI attracts many patients No specific marketing, just word of mouth
Specialisations Dentistry and orthodontics Cardiovascular, diagnostics, paediatrics, oncology, dermatology, nephrology and rehabilitation Cosmetic and plastic surgery

Price Chart (in €uro)

Treatment Average Price Esthesia Clinic Na Homolce Hospital Esthé Clinic
Cardiac bypass 11,020 N/A 16,361 N/A
Gastric bypass 6,723 N/A 9,655 N/A
Knee replacement 7,471 N/A 8,689 N/A
Hip replacement 7,471 N/A 8,689 N/A
Hip resurfacing 8,217 N/A 8,689 N/A
Botox treatment 486 N/A N/A 77
Breast augmentation 3,265 N/A N/A 1,800
Facelift 2,455 N/A N/A N/A
Liposuction 2,380 N/A N/A 2,100
Dental implants 635 695 N/A N/A
Rhinoplasty 1,291 N/A N/A 1,350
Lasik eye surgery 746 N/A N/A N/A

Note: All prices are estimates, and may vary widely from source to source depending on services included in the estimate (i.e. doctor’s fees, hospitalisation, administration costs or the patient’s age and medical history). Due to non-disclosure strategies of the various locations, it was not possible to make a clear separation between those factors. All prices given for the specific facilities have been provided by the hospitals/clinics themselves via email or telephone contact. The prices are given in Euros (€).

N/A means either that treatment are not available in the specific hospital, that a price estimation cannot be found or that the medical facility did not disclose the information. For the average prices, printed literature has been used before researching sources on the internet.