In a recent article (October 2011), British newspaper The Telegraph reported on the Singapore healthcare service and the reporter highlighted the fact that despite Singapore’s medical sector long having been seen as “a centre for excellence”, people in the region are now looking to Malaysia as the place to go for healthcare.
Bupa International, a global health insurance service and market leader, suggested that the high prices in Singapore are beginning to send people north to Malaysia instead, where the quality of hospitals and doctors is impressive and yet the prices are much lower than neighbouring Singapore.
In the article, the medical director Dr Sneh Khema is quoted as saying “Whereas Singapore used to be the default destination of choice, that has now shifted to Kuala Lumpur and we are actively encouraging that. When it comes to quality standards in leading private hospitals, KL is on a par with Singapore.”
Malaysia has long been attracting so called health ‘tourists’ thanks to the low cost of healthcare as well as the attractiveness of the destination. The private hospitals in the country are staffed by doctors and specialists that have been trained at some of the top medical centres in the world, and thanks to the excellent standard of spoken English, it is easy to see why Malaysia is such a popular choice for healthcare.
“When it comes to prices,” says Dr Khema, “KL is still on average about a third of the cost of Singapore.” Considering the close proximity of the two countries and the negligible difference in quality of healthcare services, it is no surprise that people are willing to make the short trip from Singapore to Malaysia to save money on their hospital bills.