Medical tourism has certainly been rising in popularity over the last decade and the latest figures show that Turkey is set to enter the top 10 most desirable locations for treatment.
Most tourists come here for the sunny weather, the beaches and an economical holiday, while others visit for the stunning historical sites and rich culture. However, healthcare in Turkey now reportedly offers quality treatment with the possibility of a good holiday afterwards to recuperate.
Read on to learn more about undergoing a medical procedure in this country. Also, to apply for your travel documentation ahead of your journey, visit our Turkish eVisa page.
What Is Health Tourism?
An increasingly popular activity, medical tourism is all about seeking healthcare (especially cosmetic procedures) to combine necessary or desired procedures with a well-earned break. Medical tourism can have several benefits including:
- Reduced costs compared to receiving treatment at home.
- More accessible care, as your budget may go further abroad.
- Patients are able to recuperate in a relaxed and sometimes luxurious setting.
In recent years, this has been big business for several countries including Dubai, Singapore, Spain, India, Israel and, increasingly, Turkey too.
How Is the Healthcare in Turkey?
55% of Turkey’s 1,200 hospitals are owned by the Turkish Ministry of Health, with the remainder owned by private companies, universities and foreign entities.
Fortunately, most Turkish hospitals have a long list of accreditations, including from the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO). Also, the majority of Turkish hospitals and clinics employ English-speaking doctors and medical staff.
Although Turkey is not yet a member of the European Union (EU), an application is in place. In the meantime, Turkey remains one of the EU’s main partners in the Middle East.
Due to Turkey’s continuing bid to join the EU, the Turkish Ministry of Health, in conjunction with an independent Turkish medical association, works tirelessly to ensure the implementation of the highest quality, most advanced technology and overall exemplary medical standards.
As such, this country is fast gaining a reputation as a centre of excellence for healthcare and surgery, including cosmetic, dental, cardiovascular and organ transplant procedures.
Overview of Health Tourism in Turkey
- Turkey’s healthcare system is one of the most affordable in the world and many procedures are half the price of those in other countries.
- This country has the highest number of US-accredited hospitals in Europe.
- Many doctors trained in Europe and America choose Turkey for their residency, which means that some of the best doctors in the world are based there.
- Between 2007 and 2017, the number of health tourists visiting Turkey rose from 75,000 to 700,000!
Health Tourism in Istanbul Facts
- Istanbul boasts 64 clinics and 124 medical facilities.
- Istanbul offers some of the shortest medical waiting times in Europe.
- The most popular healthcare and cosmetic treatments that visitors seek in Istanbul are:
- Hair transplants
- Dental surgery
- Eye surgery, including laser correction
- Cosmetic surgery
- Orthopaedic treatment
- Hip replacements
- Cataract removal
- Cardiovascular procedures
- Cosmetic and dental procedures are reportedly considerably more affordable in Istanbul than in any other city in the world.
- Turkish dental clinics excel at several procedures including implants, crowns and veneers.
Why Choose Turkey for Medical Tourism?
The country offers a heady combination of a great climate, fantastic food, affordable prices and friendly people.
Turkey’s tourist hotspot, Istanbul, is a treasure trove of Roman-era architecture and Christian mosaics, all set to a backdrop of sumptuous surroundings and vibrant colours.
Istanbul is a fantastic spot to recover from your procedure whilst enjoying the best that the city has to offer, including world-beating cuisine.
Turkish people are some of the friendliest in the world and many have an excellent grasp of the English language. This may come in handy during your recuperation when you may want to buy medical items as well as food and drink.
How to Find a Health Tourism Agency in Turkey
There are a few resources online which you can use to find a medical tourism agency including:
- MyhealthTurkey – This site offers some useful tips and advice on everything from accommodation to finding the right agency for your needs.
- Medicaltourismreview – Everything you need to know about health tourism in Turkey can be found on this informative website.
- Turkishhealthguide – This is a fantastic site for information on treatments, travel and accommodation during your trip to Turkey.
In addition to using these sites, it is a good idea to join forums and groups on social media to ask for recommendations. Alternatively, you may be able to ask your GP for recommendations as many will have access to this information.
When working with an agency, it’s a good idea to check the status of the clinic you’ll be visiting. For example, you’ll need to know whether it’s a private clinic, a public hospital or a university teaching hospital, as this might have some impact on the quality of care received.
You may also choose to use the services of a Medical Tourism Facilitator (MTF). These are professionals appointed by the Turkish government to help you to find the right location and clinic for your requirements. Remed Health is a leading MTF in Turkey.
How Much Does Health Tourism in Turkey Cost?
This all depends on where you go and how extensive the required treatment is. However, you can use the pricing below as a guide:
- Hair Transplants – These will generally start at around 2,250 USD, rising to about 5,900 USD for extensive treatment.
- Dental Implants – In Turkey, these will start from around 1,975 USD, compared to 5,250 USD in a more developed country.
- Nose Surgery – Costs begin at around 5,900 USD in contrast to 8,550 USD in Western Europe.
- Liposuction – This will set you back approximately 3,950 USD compared to the 6,575 USD price tag in a country such as the UK.
- Breast Augmentation – This procedure costs around 5,250 USD in Turkey compared to double that in a more developed nation.
- Facelift – The whole deal will cost you around 5,250 USD here compared to a whopping 15,800 USD somewhere like the UK.
Often, it is possible to get a package deal which includes your flight, accommodation and treatment. These can offer significant cost savings on your procedure!
If you’d like to know more about undergoing a medical procedure in this Eurasian country, read on for the answers to some frequently asked questions.
What Health Tourism in Turkey Tips Are There?
- Before looking for medical tourism in this country, make sure that you are clear on your diagnosis and on the recommended treatment. This will both help you to choose the right clinic/doctor for your requirements and will also help you to communicate your requirements ahead of your visit.
- Always thoroughly research clinics and doctors and seek reviews from other patients. Once you have made a shortlist of these, be sure to insist on a telephone conversation in advance. This is to ensure that you feel comfortable with the level of communication, knowledge and understanding before going ahead.
- Always make sure that you get everything in writing, including quotes, opinions and recommendations in order to avoid any misunderstandings further down the line.
- Never make a commitment to a doctor or clinic without a written contract. Once you have this, it’s worth having a solicitor check it over for you to make sure that you know what you’re getting yourself into. It’s also to ensure that you don’t end up out of pocket if something goes wrong.
- Try to be flexible when timing your trip. Your doctor will be able to give you a guide as to how long the treatment and recuperation will take. Moreover, where possible, add a couple of days either side to give you a security cushion, should your plans change for any reason.
- Always insist that your doctor and nurse speak the same language as you do, since communication will be vital before and after the procedure.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Turkey Health Tourism?
- Low Cost – Visitors can make significant cost savings on essential and cosmetic procedures.
- Holiday – Health tourists can enjoy a holiday at the same time as having their treatment.
- Short Waiting Times – Procedures in Turkey may often be quicker than in your home country.
- Follow Up – Unlike having treatment at home, follow-up care can be tricky when the clinic is in another country.
- Language – Although most Turkish medical centres employ English-speaking staff, there may still be the odd ‘lost in translation’ moment.
What Else Should I Know?
You do not currently need any travel vaccinations for Turkey. However, it is recommended that you acquire immunisations for measles, mumps, diphtheria and hepatitis A and B if you don’t already have these.
- To figure out where to fly into in this country, read our Top Turkey Airports Info article.
- You should always take with you any medication that you may require during your visit.
- You will need to ensure that your passport is valid for 6 months after the date of your entry to Turkey.
- The currency in Turkey is the Turkish Lira (currency code: TRY).
- Turkey experiences high temperatures in the summer months and, so, if you are not one for the heat, it is best to plan your visit in either spring or autumn.
- While experts say that Ankara and Istanbul are both safe to visit for tourists, you should always check your government’s latest guidelines before travelling. For more on this subject, read our Is Turkey Safe? article.
Health tourism can be a fantastic way of cutting the cost of a dental or cosmetic procedure that you have always dreamed of, but which you’ve so far found prohibitively expensive in your home country.
While it’s always sensible to double-check the travel safety guidelines, Turkey has a fantastic track record of providing outstanding healthcare services with exemplary after-care. Oh, and being able to recuperate in the sunshine with a chilled Raki won’t hurt either!