Scandinavian Care launches medical tourism tours to Thailand late 2003

Medical tourism is one of the hottest terms in Thailand’s leisure and wellbeing industry. While many only talk about it a group of Swedish investors just do it.
      Land filling work has begun at the site for Scandinavian Care’s rehabilitation center that will open late 2004, next door to Scandinavian Village in Bangsaen, and construction starts before new year.
      And already this November the company launches tailor made rehabilitation trips for Scandinavians to a health resort on Phuket’s northern tip.
      “Trips that target people who want to change a habit or their lifestyle and are motivated enough to commit themselves for individual treatments,” says Peter Diurson CEO of Scandinavian Care which operates both the medical tours and the Bangsaen center.
      “In Bangsaen we will have two major patient categories. For Scandinavians mainly those in need of neurological and rheumatic rehabilitation. In Thailand we target stroke patients; ours will be the first centre in Thailand able to deal with stroke recovery in cooperation with Pyathai group, as well as individuals who need rehabilitation after traffic accidents. Bangsaen will also conduct research and development in the areas we are active in and transfer know-how to the Thai medical community, “adds Peter Diurson.
      Scandinavian Care Ltd is a Thai company with Swedish management and investors. The new THB 200 Million centre is partly funded by the same investors that injected money in Scandinavian Village. Some local financing will contribute to the centre as well.
      The rehabilitation facility in Bangsaen can accommodate up to 100 live-in patients staying in suites during the treatment period. State-of-the-art equipment and carefully selected medical staff are other features which will be there from day one.
      “We have contracted a rehabilitation Director, Dr Kanotkram Yingchaoren, she is a highly qualified Swedish/Thai physiotherapist who has spent 17 years with research for Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. In addition to her formal qualifications, she is fluent in Swedish besides the native Thai,” says Peter Diurson.
      Scandinavian Care have received acceptance from the Board of Investment to get a license for the centre. Scandinavian Village is already licensed, a first in the Thai leisure industry.
      In addition to its own arrangements, Scandinavian Care represents the Bangkok Hospital’s group in Scandinavia. Focus here is on treatments comparatively expensive at home and easily undertaken during a holiday stay in Thailand.
      “Dental treatment, eye corrections and general health check ups are the main areas in that respect. We are of course ready to provide advice for other treatments as well. For ethical reasons we have however decided not to market cosmetic surgery or sex change operations,” says Peter Diurson.
Cosmetic surgery prices vary per destination, kind of treatment and the experience of the surgeon.
      Dental and eye patients will receive consultation from selected specialists working for Scandinavian Care in Sweden before they travel to Thailand.
      The treatment trips offered from this November on can be viewed as ‘light’ rehabilitation programmes.
      “Our partner is the health resort Hot Springs and Bantao beach resort both in Phuket. All treatments there will be designed on individual demand,” explains Peter Diurson.
      The format, according to Scandinavian Care, is a two week trip that starts from SEK 20 000 per person, where each day contains at least 3 to 4 hours of treatments. The first guests for the Bantao programme are scheduled to arrive 27 November this year.
      Treatments will be picked from a mix of traditional Thai health care and alternative medicine cures. All treatments and drugs and herbs used are approved by the Ministry of Public Health’s department for alternative medicine and methods.
      Peter Diurson stresses that Scandinavian Care will assure that its services and facilities live up to the highest Swedish standards. He is also actively trying to introduce and promote rules and regulations for the medical tourism industry in Thailand.
      “I have raised this issue with senator Suradech Yasawasdi (chairman standing committee on tourism) and Senator Prasit (chairman of public health committee). We suggest that regulations for medical tourism institutions are introduced and enforced. Spas, rehabilitation centres and hospitals that provide medical tourism services here should really meet high standard requirements. The first meeting and reactions on my ideas are positive. I am sure the government will regulate the industry sooner or later and that will benefit the country as a whole.”

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