Vietnamese hospitals and clinics are attracting patients from many countries, although there is confusion on actual numbers between locals, Vietnamese citizens living abroad and returning home, and overseas medical tourists. Although hospital figures suggest numbers of locals and overseas patients, the countries listed are mostly those where first, second or even third generation Vietnamese families have moved to get work, and have settled.
The key areas where the cost in Vietnam is much lower than where the diaspora reside are kidney transplants, heart surgery and fertility treatment. Vietnam’s Ministry of Health says that the number of foreigners receiving medical treatment in the country now brings in foreign currency earnings of US$1 billion.
The HCM City Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Association says that the three major centres in Hanoi specialising in IVF treatment are Tiu Du Maternity Hospital, Van Hanh and An Sinh hospitals. Between them they offer fertility treatment to 500 patients a year.
The HCM City National Hospital of Odonto-Stomatology and the Odonto-Maxillo-Facial Hospital in Hanoi, between them now treat more than 2,000 overseas Vietnamese and foreigners. 1200 overseas patients, including the diaspora, went to Cho Ray Hospital in 2014, and 19,000 to HCM City Medical University Hospital.
The main source countries are the USA, Australia, South Korea, Russia, Japan with increases from China, Australia and New Zealand.
While Thailand and Singapore remain Southeast Asia’s medical tourism giants, Vietnam is slowly establishing a name for itself in this arena. An increasing number of patients are now heading there for cut-price medical treatment provided at modern hospitals by well-qualified surgeons and nursing staff. The country has much to offer in the way of sightseeing attractions and places of cultural interest, providing numerous ways to spend time in the period following treatment.
Ho Chi Minh City in the south of the country is where the majority of hospitals and clinics geared towards medical tourists are located. There are currently more than 50 surgery centers in the city, eight of which are regular hospitals, with the remainder being purpose-built specialist clinics.
Additionally, Vung Tao, a town on the coast not far from Ho Chi Minh, has its own medical tourism resort known as Medicoast. Medicoast offers visitors complete packages which include accommodation, surgery, post-operative care and use of leisure facilities. A number of establishments offer orthopedic and obstetric treatment.
Prices are attractive, coming in lower than those in Thailand and Singapore and up to 70 percent cheaper than the cost of treatment in the US and the UK. Many of the best surgeons in Vietnam’s private clinics studied for their qualifications overseas, so respectable credentials are not an issue. Vietnam is still relatively new to the medical tourism scene and English-speaking staff may not be present in all clinics.
Patients well enough to travel after surgery can explore Ho Chi Minh City or head north to the capital, Hanoi. Alternatively, the beaches of Danang, Hoi An, Nha Trang and Phan Thiet provide peaceful environments for anyone in need of rest and relaxation during their period of convalescence from medical tourism.