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Monday, 15 December, 2008, 14 : 00 PM [IST]

Medical Tourism in India to be impacted for a short term period

According to a PTI report, the country’s growing Medical Tourism industry will be impacted for a short-term. According to Vishal Bali, CEO, Wockhardt Hospitals, post the terror attacks in Mumbai, they have received queries from several US patients asking whether it was safe to travel to Bangalore. Only after assurance about safety many decided to visit the city. “Foreigners still fear to visit the country therefore there will be a short-term impact on Medical Tourism.” He further stated that Wockhardt Hospitals, a leading player in the Medical Tourism sector was considering to raise funds through the private equity route. It had scrapped plans to raise funds through the capital market for expansion due to poor response to its IPO. The company has been looking at the private equity route but the global credit crunch has made investors including private equity finds to think twice before investing.  

Bali stated that the next round of growth for healthcare will come from Tier-II Tier-III cities because of the huge demand in these locations and the scarcity of supply. “Concentrating on Tier-II and Tier-III destinations will be a natural progression for healthcare providers as facilities have already been set up in the metros,” informed Bali. Quoting figures from a recent Deloitte study, Bali said that healthcare is a USD 60-billion opportunity globally. In India, the market was clocking a healthy growth with Medical Tourism expected to touch USD two billion by 2010. He further added that last year India received 4.50 lakh international patients, a tad higher than Singapore at 4.2 lakh in the same period. Bali further opined that the scenario in 2009 will be better. “On the healthcare sector there is a mismatch in demand and supply as India needs at least 85,000 (hospital) beds in the next five years,” stated Bali.  “According to the global average, for every 1,000 people there has to be 1.3 beds. But in India it was just one bed for every 1,000 people. There is a huge opportunity for healthcare in India,” opined Bali.
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