Gemany has among the highest numbers of physicians per head of population, at over 300,000, and among the highest figures for healthcare expenditure and medical research per capita too (second only to Switzerland among European countries); so, unsurprisingly, it has become a popular destination for medical and health tourism.
The country has 2,000 hospitals, which treat 18.5 million people annually. In 2018, 255,000 people from 177 countries received medical treatment in Germany, including visitors from Russia, the Middle East, the Netherlands, UK, Austria, as well as a small amount from the USA and Israel.
Medical Tourism Regulation in Berlin, Germany
Unsurprisingly, the capital city of Berlin is the most popular medical tourism destination, with more than 130 clinics, 70 rehab facilities and around 140,000 hotel beds.
Major clinics such as the German Heart Centre, the Chartite-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, and the municipal hospital group Vivantes have services to suit international patients including multilingual contact persons, interculturally-trained staff and special comfort areas.
The German healthcare system is one of the most well-regulated in the world; all services are controlled on the state level, and all hospitals must be approved by certain certifications.
Since 2013, medical tourists to Germany have been protected by laws guaranteeing a choice of doctor and hospital, a second opinion regarding treatment, doctor-patient confidentiality, choice of treatments and information transparency.
Specialist Treatments in Germany
Oncology is the top specialty for medical tourism—there are over 40 specialised oncological centres in Germany which specialise in the treatment of over 300 types of cancer.
Other prominent areas include cardiac bypass surgery, neurosurgery using endoscopic and laser techniques, orthopaedics including knee and hip replacement, transplantations, infertility and epileptic disorders.
Although healthcare in Germany is not cheap, medical tourists do not pay more than German citizens.
There are some visa requirements for medical travel to Germany, depending on your country of origin and the likely period of your stay. Before arranging medical travel to Germany, a patient needs to make a prepayment to the account of a clinic. This prepayment includes a preliminary cost of diagnostic and treatment procedures. After treatment, a hospital recalculates all the charges. If a final price is lower or higher than a prepayment, a patient gets unused funds back or pays extra.
In addition to high-tech medicine, Germany also has an excellent infrastructure for preventative care, rehabilitation and the treatment of chronic diseases. Wellness tourism in Bavaria is an important economic factor, as spas account for 58 percent of local tourism revenue.
With a range of hotels near the hospitals, a broad range of cultural offerings and shopping centres in the towns and cities, and plenty of opportunities to recuperate in the great outdoors, a trip to Germany should be a pleasant one for patients and carers alike.