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June 13, 2008

More foreigners seeking medical treatment

More foreigners are coming to Singapore to seek medical treatment. In 2006, some 400,000 came for treatments such as health screenings and the numbers are rising, reported Channel News Asia.

Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said there's been a steady increase of 15 to 20 percent every year. This is due to the trust foreigners have in the Singapore's medical system and the latest technology available in the city-state.

Many from as far as Russia also come to Singapore for eye surgeries and cancer treatment.

STB said this will help boost the technical skills and experience of doctors here as well as lower the operating costs of the advanced medical equipment.

More are also choosing private hospitals such as those managed by Parkway Health which attend to about 60 percent of international patients. Doctors said this will only help them improve their skills and at the same time benefit the wider population of Singapore.

Jason Yap, Director, Healthcare Services, Singapore Tourism Board, said: "Singapore is a rather small country with only 4.5 million people. With the advanced medical technology and services that we have, you find that it is not large enough a base.

So you find that for certain number of services, you need certain number of patients for a doctor to look after. If he does not have enough of these patients, he will lose his skills. And that is one reason why it is so important for Singapore to have international patients, to provide a larger base and spread the skills as well as technical acquisition over."

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