A report from USTIS that will shed light on health tourism

The International Health Tourism Employers Association (USTIS), which was established to bring the Turkish health tourism industry under one roof, has announced the final report of the Istanbul Health Tourism Workshop held on March 30. The report is published in a 100-page booklet.
Report; Relevant ministries have begun distributing them to the presidents of all employers ‘unions and the secretaries general of the Turkish Confederation of Employers’ Unions (TISK), including USTIS members and all relevant organizations. The report, which is the product of a workshop that brings together all stakeholders in health tourism for the first time in Turkey, covers issues identified by travel agencies, hospitals, hotel operators, private healthcare companies, insurance companies and others. Professional and solutions in the sector.

Evaluating the workshop organized by USTIS Academy, USTIS President Asli Tarkan said, “We have a lot of health tourism business in our country. In this workshop we have brought together all the stakeholders of the sector and enabled us to see the problems of the sector from a broader perspective. From the complexity of certification and approval according to the field of activity of the organization to inadequate supervision; Many problems ranging from lack of qualified staff to defective and uninsured service and related issues were mentioned. Subsequently, a number of solutions were proposed, from the preparation of the training program to the lack of qualified staff, to the comprehensive amendment of the law together with all the stakeholders. It is a matter of special pride for us that all participants in the workshop wanted USTIS to play a regulatory and supervisory role in resolving these issues. We continue to work with all our might so that our industry’s confidence in us does not wane. We will be holding similar workshops in seven regions of Turkey as soon as possible. ” Says

Significant problem and solution suggestions in the workshop

Considering the participants in the workshop, 10 tables were set up, each with seating for 10 people. Two of them are table travel agents. Emphasizing that there is a lack of legislation, travel agencies have been asked to be included in the process when drafting new legislation. Noting that lack of insurance is an important problem in this sector, it was requested to implement the policy immediately. It said the VAT rate for travel agencies was 18 per cent and for hospitals was 0 per cent, and both were requested to be reset. The agencies also complained about a lack of trust and ethics, and said there should be an easily accessible complaints desk with the authorities to impose sanctions.

“Workshop must continue”

Hospital representatives, like travel agencies, were also represented at the two tables. The hospital representatives, who said that the stakeholders involved in health tourism try to run each process on their own, were asked to continue the workshop organized by USTIS so that the problems of working together can be overcome. Representatives of the hospital, who wanted to visit unregistered as well as registered institutions, requested that the guides be given health terminology training. Hospital representatives, citing a shortage of foreign-speaking staff in health facilities, called for foreign language education to be integrated and supported by the state.

Representatives of the hotel management were among the health tourism stakeholders at both tables. Hotel operators draw unqualified staff as the first problem and insist on giving staff training certificates. Noting the lack of coordination between the hotel and the company, the hotel operators said that there is also a lack of advertisement and proper publicity. Noting that health tourists have problems seeing due to lack of information, the hotel operators insisted on collecting the data and analyzing it properly. Noting that the presence of clients related to health tourism in hotels can create a hygiene problem, hotel operators say that customers should be offered discounts in a way that is visibly acceptable (e.g., hair replacement operations).

Request for USTIS to be included in the audit

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) related to health tourism participated in the two tables. NGOs say there is a problem of trust and quality in the healthcare chain consisting of patient-agents and doctors and that this problem should be addressed. Although it was mentioned that there is a quality and efficiency problem in health tourism education, it was underlined that not only price but also quality of service should be differentiated. Another health tourism stakeholder that drew attention to the lack of advertising and publicity was the NGO.

Representatives of the insurance company said that the law does not allow Turkish citizens who come for health tourism and especially those living in Europe with dual passports to insure. Indicating that work should be done for this purpose, the insurance representatives requested that a travel health insurance policy be issued and that the limits and scope of this policy should be established and inspected by USTIS.

Other professional representatives emphasized that there was no health tourism list and suggested that USTIS collect health tourism data and share it with all relevant sector representatives. Professional representatives, who want to be selective in certification and eliminate certification issues, stressed that there should be a regular inspection system where USTIS is effective.

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