Nov 2: Medical tourism, which has been on the rise in Germany, along with the
United States, Turkey, Thailand and South Korea, has witnessed a decline in
recent years in the Deutschland.
one of Europe's most popular medical tourism destinations, with its
orthopedists, cardiologists and surgeons especially popular with international
with rare illnesses want the best possible treatment, and for that they may
consider traveling to Germany," says Mariam Asefi, who heads a medical
tourism research unit at Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences.
Germany's health care sector enjoys an excellent reputation, the number of
international patients has dropped in recent years, reported the German state-owned
international broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) last month-end.
that getting treatment in Germany also has a "prestige" element.
In addition, economic factors like currency stability also play an
important role in people's decision to go to Germany.
more than 65,000 foreigners from 177 different countries came to Germany to
receive medical treatment. Most European guests hailed from Poland and the
Netherlands, while most non-European patients came from Russia, Ukraine and
been notably fewer Russian tourists visiting Germany for medical
treatments, says Mariam Asefi. In 2020, the number of Russian patients dropped
by more than 30%. This decline was partially offset, however, by a rise in
patients from EU states and Arabic countries.
hospitals have taken a financial hit. University Clinic Freiburg, which runs a
unit specifically for treating non-EU patients, saw a marked drop in
travel restrictions were largely to blame for this.
more than 1,000 international patients were treated at University Clinic
Freiburg, whereas that number dropped to 800 in 2021. Most of these individuals
hailed from Ukraine and Russia.
German hospitals began pivoting away from medical tourism even before the
outbreak of coronavirus. Speaking to DW, a spokesperson for University Hospital
of Dusseldorf said his clinic had stopped targeting foreign patients years ago,
adding that this revenue stream was no longer particularly important for
Vivantes hospital group has seen a similar development. In March, the group
shut its Vivantes International Medicine unit, which specifically catered to
foreign patients. That was due to falling demand, which they said made the
unit no longer financially viable.
fewer than 1,000 non-EU citizens sought medial treatment there, down from
roughly 1,200 per year from 2016 to 2019.