Category: General Guide

Medical Tourism in Singapore

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Medical Tourism in Singapore Cover Photo

Singapore’s Healthcare system was ranked as the 6th best in the world by the WHO in 2000, and the best in Asia out of the 191 countries it listed.

Medical Tourism- Singapore

The technologically savvy Singapore may be smaller than most countries, but it has the best infrastructure, technology, and cleanliness initiatives in place today. In some regards, it is even better than most developed nations in the West, quite unlike what you may expect out of a South-east Asian nation. Hence, it isn’t the least bit surprising that this country has experienced a boom in medical tourism in recent years. In 2011, Singapore earned more than $900 million from medical tourism alone. The WHO’s list of the best healthcare systems around the world released in 2000, ranked Singapore’s Healthcare system as the 6th best in the world, and the best in Asia out of the 191 countries it listed. A patient-centric system enriched with cutting edge technology, and international standards at affordable costs is what makes Singapore’s healthcare system so popular. People seeking kidney or liver transplants and treatment for blood disorders often travel to Singapore to get their procedure at a lower cost, without having to compromise on quality. Even if, Singapore is a little more expensive than most other Asian countries such as Thailand and India, you still save almost 50% of your medical costs as compared to the American rates by coming to Singapore for a medical procedure. Well, if Singapore is going to be your chosen destination for your medical procedure, here’s a list of everything you need to know about this country, including visas, accommodation, accreditations, legal implications, and tourism.


Top destinations:

Singapore boasts of more than 25 medical institutions scattered across the country, with more than 9,500 doctors, 1500 dentists, and 25,000 nursing staff that cater to international patients. It has around 22 JCI accredited hospitals and medical institutes in all. Singapore’s healthcare system provides services ranging from orthopedics, ophthalmology, cosmetology, dermatology, dental, cardiology, urology, endocrinology, sports medicine, and alternate therapies including the Chinese herbal system and acupuncture. And since this isn’t a very large country, one can travel around very easily in a matter of few hours. So, whatever destination you choose within Singapore it shouldn’t be more than 1-2 hours away from Changi airport, Singapore’s international airport and another feather in its cap.


Safety and credentials:

Singapore provides a welcoming and safe atmosphere to its tourists, with the added benefits of political stability and excellent health safety standards. The medical education pattern in Singapore was in line with the British system prior to 2010. However, since 2011 they have adopted the Graduate residency program similar to the system in the United States.  So, graduates from the Singaporean medical schools registered under the Medical Registration Act, are eligible for residency programs in a speciality of their choice. They are then conferred the MD/ MS degree after completion of their Residency. Some of the doctors have degrees from well-known institutes around the world too.  Doctors in Singapore also participate in international exchange programs to keep themselves abreast of global standards and technological advances. The Singapore Medical Council, Dental Council, Nursing board, and Pharmacy Board register and regulate the Doctors, Dentists, Nurses, and Pharmacists respectively, making sure they comply with the best of standards. In addition, its Blood supply system is also ranked among the safest countries in the world. So much so that in 1992, the HSA previously known as Singapore’s center for transfusion was selected by the WHO as one of its collaborating Blood centers for transfusion medicine in the Western Pacific Region.


Legal issues:

Legal laws of the country you are travelling to mainly come under focus if you require IVF or Surrogacy. In Singapore, for a couple to be eligible for IVF they have to be married. However, there is an IVF bill currently under discussion that aims at straightening out the irregularities and filling up the loopholes in the current IVF practice. As for malpractice, the laws of the country are strong enough to provide justice in such matters. However, certain difficulties considering the cross-border nature of medical tourism lawsuits may arise, in addition to jurisdiction problems. Hence, make sure you know all of the legal hassles involved with your procedure, especially those requiring donor organs, eggs, and sperms to enable you to take informed medical decisions.


Cost of medical treatments in Singapore:


Cost in SGD

(1 $= 1.68 SGD)

Dental implants

5300 SGD

Heart bypass

17,000 SGD

Hip Replacement

13,718 SGD

Knee Repair Surgery

9000 SGD

Breast Implants

10,000 SGD


4500 SGD

Face lift

12000 SGD

Tummy Tuck

10,000 SGD


1300 SGD

Lasik (both eyes)

4000 SGD


14,000 SGD


How do you get there?

Around 80 international airlines have flights flying to and from Changi airport that cover more than 180 cities and 50 countries. The Singapore Changi airport is an epitome of technology, infrastructure, and good organization. In many ways it is even -better than most Western countries, which simply adds to the comfort of your journey, especially since comfortable travelling facilities are important for medical purposes. Citizens of most Western countries can travel to and stay in Singapore for 30 days without a visa, as long as they have a passport that’s valid for more than 6 months from the date of entry and a return air ticket. US, EU, British, Swiss, South Korean, Norway, and Canadian citizens can extend this stay up to 90days. Around 33 countries require a visa before entry into Singapore. You can check the official government page to get detailed information about the visa procedures to enter Singapore:


Some General tips:

Currency: The Singapore dollar or SGD is the local currency used here.

Accommodation: You can choose your accommodation according to your requirements and budget, as the country offers a wide range of budget guesthouses and hostels that cost around 11-45$ per night per person, 3-star accommodations that cost around 90-150$ per night, and luxurious beach hotels, spas, resorts, and 5-star hotels that cost anywhere between 150 to 650$.

Language: Chinese, Malay, English, and Tamil are the languages spoken in this country. The medical staff is generally well-versed in English. However, if required you can always ask for an interpreter, as most health services catering to medical tourists provide such facilities.

Weather: Singapore is a tropical country, with a hot and humid weather year round. The country gets moderate rainfall between June to September and December to March. However, the rains aren’t torrential unlike some other Asian countries, and do not cripple the daily routine of the local inhabitants. Hence, you do not really need to adjust the time of your visit according to the weather, as it doesn’t seem to vary much throughout the year.

Cuisine: The Singaporean cuisine is just another example of the amalgamation of global trends in to the fabric of this technologically savvy nation. It is a fusion of Malaysian, Thai, and Indian cooking styles. It also has some English and Portuguese influence, a remnant of its days as a British colony. You can indulge your taste buds with the dumplings, noodles, rice, etc. cooked in delicious sauces that aren’t overly spicy, or you could avoid experimenting and stick to your native cuisine available in the innumerable international hotels and stalls in the food courts around Singapore. Make sure you know what meat you order, as they often serve frogs and other such uncommon animal meats too.

Tourist attractions: The enterprising citizens of Singapore and government initiatives have made it one of the most sought after tourist destination today. You can go for a day trip to the Sentosa Islands and enjoy the cable rides, underwater aquarium, Merlion, etc. or if you are the adventurous type, you could have a go at the many rides at the Universal Studios. For those who would prefer a quite vacation, there are options such as the night safari, Jurong Bird Park, Singapore zoo that houses several exotic animals from polar bears to elephants and kangaroos kept in their natural habitats. But, if you are looking for luxury; the star cruise is just the right destination for you. Orchard road offers a wide range of shopping destinations and spas too.

So, what better place than Singapore to kill two birds with a stone?  Get that medical procedure with an added attraction of a holiday, and yet manage to save around half of your expenses in your native country.


Tags: medical tourism, quality assurance, international medical accreditation, jci, singapore hospitals, singapore, singapore medical tourism

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