Imagine this: You’re in town for the adrenaline-pumping Grand Prix season or celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival with your family. Of course, your visit to Singapore is incomplete without trying the country’s must-try local delicacies. So you visited a nearby hawker center and tried the popular and affordable chicken rice and fried kway teow.
And then suddenly, you felt a throbbing tooth pain accompanied by headache. You took a pain reliever but to no avail. You wonder if sleep can temporarily get rid of the nagging pain, or you might need root canal treatment. You have to wait for a few more days before your scheduled flight back home. What will you do?
Nothing spoils the fun during a vacation more than a medical emergency. Emergency dental care abroad can be inconvenient and expensive, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the country you’re visiting. Good thing you’re in one of the top medical tourism destinations in the world.
Singapore boasts of its excellent healthcare quality and cutting edge technology. According to a study published in 2017, the city-state ranked as the most attractive among the seven Asian countries in terms of patients’ experience.
Singapore’s JCI-certified hospitals and healthcare facilities offer a wide range of services for travelers—from simple eye checkups to orthopedic and cardiac surgeries. Compared to the U.S., the cost of medical treatment in the state is cheap. Patients are serviced by English-speaking medical practitioners who have international accreditations. Some private hospitals even provide patients with a luxury, hotel-like experience.
Singapore also remains the top choice for patients with complex conditions and need new drugs that are not yet approved in their home countries.
Because of the rise of dental costs, more medical tourists from the U.S. and the U.K. also travel to Singapore for quality dental procedures that are cheap compared to their home countries. More than 1,000 registered dentists are working in the private and public sectors. The services range from general procedures like scaling, root canal, and tooth extraction to cosmetic procedures like dental implants, inlays and onlays, and veneers.
Through Singapore’s International Patient Service Centers (IPSCs), which can be accessed through the Ministry of Health (MOH) website, medical tourists and expatriate patients can get information about the healthcare facilities in the country and schedule appointments with specialists. Several medical tourism agencies can help you find the best therapeutic options overseas. They will help book your flight and accommodation and provide the best advice on the hospitals that can provide the procedures that you need.
What are the requirements if you’re a medical tourist?
- Passport/travel documents with a minimum validity of 6 months, a return and onward ticket, requirements for the visitor’s next destination, sufficient funds for their stay in the country, and Visa or visit pass, if applicable.
- Social Visit Pass for travelers from the U.K., Australia, Canada, USA, and E.U. valid for 30 days upon arrival
- Business or Social Visit Visa for visitors from countries under Singapore’s Assessment Level I and II
- Extension pass valid up to 90 days from the Embassy of the Republic of Singapore before leaving the U.S. and Canada if the medical traveler is required to extend his/her stay beyond 30 days
- Special permits from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore if the visitor is already in Singapore
If you’re not a medical tourist, it’s still highly recommended for travelers to be prepared in case of medical emergencies. Traveler and Leisure lists some tips for your guidance:
- Get a medical checkup before leaving and inform your doctor about specific activities that might put your body at risk.
- Get vaccinated if it’s required or recommended by the country you’re visiting.
- Always travel with your health information (blood type, allergies, medications, etc.)
- If you have travel insurance, check whether your policy provides coverage for medical bills while traveling.
- Research about the quality of medical care in your destination. This way, you know the nearest and cheapest healthcare facility that can address your medical needs.
- Register your trip with the State Department so they can contact you in case of a crisis or emergency.
- Know the emergency service number at your destination.
- If you’re too ill or injured to travel back home, request a travel escort like a licensed nurse or paramedic.
- In case of an emergency evacuation, learn how to book an air ambulance.
Vacations don’t always go as planned, especially if you travel abroad. And even if you take all the necessary preparations, medical emergencies overseas are inevitable. Avoid turning your vacation into a nightmare, and be prepared in case the unexpected happens.