Out for surgery
Increasingly, the surging Chinese middle-class is opting for a trip abroad when delicate and expensive medical cures are needed. South Korea is the first choice for plastic surgery, Hong Kong and the US for child birth. Singapore and Japan are common destinations for medical check-ups, whereas US, UK and Germany for cancer treatments.
As the Wall Street Journal and Hurun reported, the so-called â€œmedical tourismâ€ by Chinese patients is moving high flows of capitals. Press releases depict Beijingâ€™s healthcare system as strongly conditioned by corruption, personal influences and poor salaries. According to a survey conducted by the Chinese Hospital Association, mistrust undermines relationships between doctors and patients. As the country becomes wealthier, people agree to spend more in exchange for a better medical treatment. According to the World Bank, health expenditures per capita in China have more than doubled since 2008.
In front of new needs and expectations, Beijing didnâ€™t stand still and is enlarging its healthcare system: the Ministry of Finance stated that year-on-year spending marked a 13% increase in 2013, reaching â‚¬103 billion total, â‚¬256 per capita. However, in Germany is still â‚¬3,616 per capita. Spending even more than â‚¬150,000 to be treated abroad seems to be more and more accepted in China, for life-threatening diseases in particular. Saint Lucia, a Beijing-based intermediary on overseas care, had only two Chinese clients in 2011; nearly 100 in 2012, around 200 the year after.