Foreign patients who have received medical treatment in Turkey will be able to have their follow-ups at diagnosis centers that will be established in 20 countries, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced Thursday.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, the minister said the move came at a time when Turkey enjoyed a 30% boost in its health tourism. “Last year, Turkey hosted 553,000 foreign patients. This year, we have welcomed 650,000 patients in 10 months. We expect the final number for 2019 to be 760,000. Our goal is to generate $10 billion by reaching 1.5 million patients by 2023,” Koca said.
Explaining the details of the diagnosis centers that will be established abroad, Koca said that "Russia, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan will be the first three countries and the rest of the centers will be opened by 2020."
According to the minister, the diagnosis centers will also offer assessment services with advanced imaging techniques such as MRI, CT and PET scans. “The patients whose treatments are completed will be able to have their follow-ups in their own countries. These centers will also help us determine the right treatment before any potential patients arrive in Turkey,” he said.
Turkey has been reaping benefits from the investments it made in health-oriented infrastructure and facilities over the last decade, such as city hospitals and thermal facilities, to increase the standard of medical services provided to attract people from around the world.
According to the Turkish Travel Agencies Association (TÜRSAB), foreigners visiting Turkey for health tourism spent on average $2,013 per person in 2018, nearly three times more than a regular tourist.
Health tourism encompasses a wide range of treatments, from medical tourism, such as treatment and surgery in hospitals; thermal tourism, with services such as rehabilitation and rest in thermal facilities; and elderly and disabled tourism, with long-term stays with social activities in geriatric treatment centers.
While Turkey has developed its investment portfolio within the framework of these categories, the interest of tourists seeking treatment in areas such as oncology, orthopedics and aesthetics in the past few years has been reflected in official figures.