Medical Tourism in Belgium
With its strategic location at the heart of the European Union, Belgium lies within easy access to most countries in West Europe. The country’s medical and healthcare facilities are known for their short waiting times and excellent patient care combined with low prices. These are the main reasons why foreign patients flood the country’s hospitals.
Healthcare institutions in Belgium
Belgian hospitals are reputed for their high standards of medical care. They provide cutting-edge technology and high success rates. The country’s medical education system is considered top-notch, and through this, Belgium also supplies some highly skilled and experienced doctors. Belgian doctors spend more time with the patients than most of their counterparts in other countries. They are also very accustomed to speak English with their patients.
Belgium has a large network of both private and independent medical facilities divided into general hospitals (so called ziekenhuis) and clinics, where the latter category is private hospitals. Belgian healthcare institutions are not only known for being meticulously clean and hygienic, but also for leaving patients with an exceptionally low risk of secondary infections when omitted to a hospital.
Currently, there is only one hospital in Belgium holding JCI Accreditation. This is UZ Leuven (University Hospital Leuven), situated in the middle of Belgium.
Cost of medical tourism in Belgium
Even though Belgium is situated in Western Europe, where private hospitals are known for being relatively expensive, the cost of medical treatments, such as surgeries, are considerably lower than the U.S. or the U.K. Sometimes, treatments can be as much as 40-50% cheaper. Another value speaking in Belgium’s favour as a tourism destination is its proximity to most medical travellers. Belgium is much closer than some of the destination’s medical tourism competitors. Even though prices usually are even less in Thailand or India, the easy and affordable access to Belgium through low-cost airlines are a great advantage.
Popular treatments in Belgium
Some of the most popular treatment areas for international patients coming to Belgium are:
- weight loss surgery (such as gastric band or gastric bypass)
- cosmetic surgery
- cardiac surgery (such as heart bypass surgery)
- dental treatments
- organ transplants (such as kidney transplant)
Nationalities seeking healthcare in Belgium
Approximately 50,000 medical travellers visit Belgium each year. The majority of these come from the neighbouring countries. Dutch healthcare tourists are in the lead, followed by travellers from France, Britain, Germany, Italy and Luxembourg.