Why Switzerland continues to be a pace-setter in healthcare offerings
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Why Switzerland continues to be a pace-setter in healthcare offerings

Why Switzerland continues to be a pace-setter in healthcare offerings

The country offers a wide range of medical treatments, with individualised healthcare services

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Switzerland has and continues to be one of the most sought-after destinations for medical tourism. Besides offering pristine surroundings and sweeping views of nature’s bounties – which act as a therapeutic source on their own – the Alpine nation offers a wide range of medical treatments, with individualised healthcare services for its affluent patient base.

The Central European country, being home to healthcare heavyweights such as Roche and Novartis, is also a leader for breakthroughs, research and development (R&D) and medical innovation. In 2021, Switzerland bagged the top spot in the FREOPP (Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity) World Index of Healthcare Innovation, rubber-stamping its position at the healthcare high table.

It’s understandable why. Switzerland’s health expenditure amounted to CHF82.472bn in 2019, equalling 11.3 per cent of gross domestic product, according to the Swiss Federal Statistical Office. Outpatient curative care including that provided in hospitals made up over one quarter (26.3 per cent) of costs.

Meanwhile, H+ Swiss Hospitals, which is a national association of public and private hospitals, clinics and special-care institutions, has members including 263 hospitals, clinics and special-care institutions in 369 locations, among others. The country’s value proposition, however, lies in its diverse offerings, with Switzerland playing host to a plethora of medical clinics, hospitals and wellness centres offering patient-centric care.

From people looking to pursue a wellness retreat or treat an urgent health condition to those wishing to unpack mental health issues or preserve their health via regular checkups, the European country runs the gamut of cure and care.

“Health travel is always undertaken for a specific reason, which can vary greatly from person to person. Everyone who travels to Switzerland for medical care has their own individual reasons for doing so. Sometimes a serious medical condition makes immediate action necessary. In other cases, personal considerations may be the priority. Check-ups are geared to preserving good health over the long term. Mental health programmes seek to undo the damage that stress and difficulties in life wreak upon the body,” notes Matthias Albrecht, director GCC at Switzerland Tourism.

Switzerland Tourism has tied up with around 30 hospitals and clinics to curate the country’s narrative around health tourism and to align efforts to showcase the nation’s healthcare services and supporting infrastructure. Given the country’s natural endowments, its popularity as a hot tourism spot and its robust medical and wellness services, Swiss healthcare providers often offer a layered health tourism experience, bundling the best of offerings.

“The stunning landscape also promotes relaxation. You and your companions can stay in a deluxe Swiss hotel or wellness facility during your time in the country. Or, if you wish to have a greater degree of privacy, characterful chalets and luxury apartments are also available,” adds Albrecht.

But given that visitors are spoilt for choice, how does one zero in on the right medical facility? “Switzerland has an extensive network of highly specialised hospitals and clinics. Depending on your needs, you may have a selection to choose from. If that is the case, factors such as the service offered by an establishment and its geographical location within Switzerland are also to be considered in addition to its medical specialisms,” explains Albrecht.

A long-standing factor that has helped underpin Switzerland’s healthcare industry is the ethos on which it operates – extending high levels of privacy to foreign patients and their families, whilst safeguarding their personal and medical information. This allows patients – mostly high-profile ones – the seclusion and space to pursue their treatments and/or convalesce, away from often intrusive media scrutiny in their home countries.

“Switzerland’s clinics and hospitals are characterised by the quality for which the country is famous for. It comes as no surprise, then, that the Swiss healthcare system is one of the best in the world,” notes Albrecht. “In keeping with the reserved mentality of the country’s citizens, the protection of privacy is guaranteed and high-profile patients can be treated undisturbed.”

However, does the process of roping in the right specialists, securing appointments and organising the stay become an arduous one? Not if there is the right kind of help around. “To ensure that your health travel to Switzerland runs like clockwork, you can choose to sit back and entrust the planning to our specialists. Swiss clinics have international support teams that can organise your entire stay. There are also agencies specialising in medical travel to Switzerland. All your questions about your medical treatment, transport and support for family members can be taken care of,” advises Albrecht.

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