Long Waiting Period Sees More NRIs, Foreigners Come To Ahmedabad For Medical Procedures - Vibes Of India

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Long Waiting Period Sees More NRIs, Foreigners Come To Ahmedabad For Medical Procedures

| Updated: March 11, 2024 16:42

Big private hospitals in Ahmedabad have usually seen patients from east African nations for procedures ranging from hip and knee replacements to minor surgeries.

Over the past couple of years, an increasing number of patients from western countries like the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are also choosing Ahmedabad for emergency procedures and long-term treatments for conditions such as cancer.

For instance a 54-year-old Canada resident Pawan Patel (name changed), flew down to Ahmedabad for a brain procedure that was seeing unending delay in that country.

A prolonged delay in brain MRI would mean a possible clot posed the risk of a stroke. With diagnosis and medical opinion weeks away, thrombectomy – procedure to remove the clot – remained out of question in Canada, which forced him to be back home.

On February 20, he successfully underwent the procedure at an Ahmedabad hospital and is now out of danger.

During January and February this year, Apollo Hospitals Gujarat saw no less than six ‘non-conventional’ patients needing neurosurgery, cardiovascular intervention, urological procedure and onco-surgical treatment. Patients are coming from countries such as New Zealand, the UK, US and Ethiopia among others and among the major factors for them to choose an Ahmedabad-based hospital was the comfort of being in a known city, having relatives here and shorter waiting periods. In several cases, post-surgical treatment and follow-up are also easily available compared to some of the countries.

It is not a trend yet – the numbers in the overall foreign patient profile are relatively very less but are on the rise. Earlier, there were many planned or minor surgeries during the NRI season (Dec-Jan). But numbers now indicate that patients are availing of services in other months too.

The number of patients from western countries that majority of city hospitals see in a month are usually in single digits. But today hospitals here are getting patients for procedures ranging from cardiovascular diseases to urology and pulmonology. This was not the case a couple of years ago. Overall, these patients account for 10-15% of total foreign patients Ahmedabad receives.

HCG’s cancer centre recently received two patients from western countries. Both needed surgical intervention along with long-term follow-up in terms of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Experts pointed out that longer response time in western countries after Covid due to multiple factors has made patients and their families look for alternatives.

In Canada in December 2023, the median time a patient had to wait between initial consultation and procedure was 28 weeks or seven months, a recent report stated.
Likewise, in Australia, the waiting period for 50% of the patients was more than 50 days or close to two months whereas close to 10% patients waited for nearly a year for their medical procedures.

Experts said, today India boasts of world-class treatment, trained doctors and nursing staff. Years of medical tourism has put the country on the global map and given exposure to best practices and standards.

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