Bangalore: Industry body Assocham on Wednesday called for developing multi-specialty health city here, based on a public-private-partnership model, to tap into medical tourism potential in the state.

The proposal envisages various super-speciality hospitals for patients seeking treatment of international standards by highly trained, English-speaking healthcare professionals at affordable prices, Assocham said in a statement.

The idea aims at making the city, and eventually entire Karnataka, a global medical-tourism centre.

As per an Assocham study, ‘Emerging Trends in Domestic Medical Tourism Sector’, the inflow of medical tourists in India is growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 40 per cent and is likely to cross 32 lakh by 2015 from the current level of 8.5 lakh.

Indian medical tourism industry is currently poised at around Rs 4,500 crore and is likely to be worth Rs 10,800 crore by 2015, it said.

Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Delhi are fast emerging as India’s best medical centres with several hospitals and speciality clinics are coming up in and around the prominent cities.

Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat said people visit India from across the world for face-lifts, dental treatment, botox treatment, tummy tucks, eye care and other such medical services at hospitals, treatment centres offering modern medical facilities.

The Bangalore concept envisages several hospitals and specialty clinics including research and rehabilitation centres, pharmaceutical clinics and spas with furnished apartments, villas and star-rated hotels including shopping malls and complexes. Various support services like metro rail,
mono railway network and bus rapid transit system are also included as part of infrastructure.

"This will not only help Karnataka secure a bigger share in India’s lucrative medical tourism industry but will encourage reverse brain drain by attracting non-resident Indian doctors, experts settled abroad to participate in this venture," said Ravindra Sanareddy, Chairperson of Assocham
Southern Council.

The state government may rope in various embassies, high commissions to get support of health ministries in foreign countries and promote medical tourism aggressively, he said.

Besides, the state government should provide financial and fiscal incentives to the healthcare industry capable of creating large number of jobs and earning foreign exchange, he added.

(Agencies)