An aggressively public-private national healthcare system and a planned program of medical tourism have placed Singapore solidly on the map as one of the world’s leading health travel destinations.
By nearly any measure, Singapore is a leader in world healthcare. Its well-established healthcare system is composed of 12 private hospitals, eight government hospitals and several specialist clinics—some 25 are JCI-accredited. The Health Manpower Development Program, sponsored by the Ministry of Health, sends Singapore doctors to the best medical centers around the world, and they return to serve, bringing with them a quality of services to match international standards.
Singapore's healthcare system is consistently ranked among the world's leading—usually higher ranked by far than the US or Canada and most EU countries. Singapore has one of the lowest infant (2.0/1,000 births) and maternal (0.0 to 1.0/1,000 live or stillbirths) mortality rates in the world. As of 2014, life expectancy averages years; males live an average of 80 years and females, nearly 85.
A joint venture with Duke University Medical School resulted in the 2005 opening of the Duke-NUS Medical School, based in Singapore, which has admitted nearly 500 post-baccalaureate students into its research-oriented, four-year medical school program. Students attend this global initiative from National University of Singapore, Peking University, Chinese University in Hong Kong, University of Mumbai, Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, Yale, Duke and Harvard Universities. Upon graduation, many of the best graduates proceed to their residencies within Singapore's public hospitals.
Singapore and Medical Tourism
Inbound patients are critical to keeping specialists employed in a nation of only 5.3 million. Through aggressive regional and international promotion, Singapore welcomes around 550,000 medical tourists annually, mostly from nearby Indonesia, Philippines, Australia, although increasingly from North America and the EU. Nearly every specialty and subspecialty is offered to international patients, including cardiovascular, orthopedics and sports medicine, oncology, neurology, reproductive and cosmetic surgery.
In 2003 the government of Singapore launched the Singapore Medicine Initiative to develop and maintain Singapore as a medical travel destination and to consolidate its considerable medical offerings. The Singapore government supports the healthcare industry for both local and international patients. Research partnerships with US universities, such as Johns Hopkins and other medical universities, along with formal relationships with GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis, underscore Singapore’s sustained commitment to cutting-edge healthcare.
Singapore as a medical destination is uniquely supported by a multifaceted medical hub, with research and development, medical conferences and training, pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing, and headquartering of multinational healthcare corporations.
Health travelers enjoy the widespread use of English as the preferred business language. Because Singapore is one of Asia’s wealthiest nations and has Southeast Asia’s highest standard of living, Western medical travelers are spared the cultural and economic contrasts sometimes experienced in less familiar destinations. Singapore's diverse demographic suits patients from e.g. Indonesia, North Asia and the Middle East. An ultra-modern skyline reflects a true city-state megalopolis, shopper’s paradise and, more recently, tourist attractions (nearby Sentosa Island has recently been transformed from a quiet resort refuge into a leisure travel extravaganza, including a Universal Studios theme park, several casinos and the world’s largest aquarium).
Due in no small part to its booming economy, Singapore has become one of Asia’s more expensive medical travel stops, catering increasingly to patients from mainland China, the Middle East, the EU, and North America, seeking higher quality care and willing to pay for it.
Last updated on 20 February 2017