What is a medical treatment visa for South Africa
A South African medical treatment visa allows a foreign national to undergo specialised medical care in South Africa. The country is equipped with modern health care facilities that are able to treat practically any of the current diseases and injuries.
The medical facilities found here are of a high standard with specialists in almost every field of modern medicine.
Another attraction for seeking out South Africa as a treatment destination is that the treatments are provided at a reasonable cost to a foreign national especially from countries with a more favourable exchange rate.
Who is a medical treatment visa for?
South Africa is a country blessed with medical facilities of a high standard and cost can be favourable for foreigners who are seeking long term care or recovery time.
While many of our neighbouring countries require expert treatment or foreigners opt for South Africa purely to have medical treatment since they can avoid the long queues and expenses in their own country.
This makes South Africa a clearly designated and viable destination for patients requiring various types of specialised medical care, particular patients for patients around the world.
The immigration legislation of South Africa recognises the need to cater for patients outside of our borders and regulates the influx of patients through the use of the Medical Treatment Visa.
Do I qualify for a medical treatment visa?
You would need to book the medical treatment through a medical institution or practice in South Africa and request supporting documentation outlining the procedure from the relevant doctor or practitioner.
For what duration is a medical treatment visa issued?
A medical treatment visa in South Africa is issued for no longer than 6 months at a time but may be extended if the medical practitioner or doctor validates the extension.
Pros of a medical treatment visa
Cost Savings is the primary motivator to travel abroad for the majority of specialised medical treatment. The availability of affordable healthcare is something that particularly appeals to patients who are without medical insurance in their home countries. The savings achieved by the patient will depend on the destination country and the procedure.
High labour costs in developed countries such as the United States drive up the cost of operating hospitals – and this, in turn, is reflected in the amount charged to the patient. Conversely, the lower operating costs and doctors’ salaries in countries such as India mean that treatment can be offered at more affordable rates.
Accessibility – Waiting lists in some countries for medical procedures, even in the private sector, can be extensive. Short or no waiting lists can be a major benefit.
Availability – Many patients travel abroad simply to avail of healthcare treatment that is not available to them in their own country.
Quality – It is a common misconception that medical treatment in developing countries is not as good as that found in the developed world. In fact, foreign hospitals and clinics that cater to the tourist market are often some of the best in the world. Many foreign hospitals have state-of-the-art facilities, highly skilled doctors and nurses, and high-quality care. Some of these countries have also invested heavily in developing research infrastructures that lead to important new developments in healthcare.
Cons of a medical treatment visa
One of the main concerns for patients travelling overseas for treatment is the follow-up care they need once they return home. The patient may suffer post procedure complications or side effects. The post-treatment care will then become the responsibility of the medical care system in the patient’s home country. The patient may have to travel back overseas if the physician at home is unwilling to provide the care necessary.
Another risk involved in Medical Tourism emanates from the fact that many foreign laws governing medical liability are not as strict as those in developed countries.
Compensation for medical malpractice can also differ and compensation for injury can be quite low in relative terms in other jurisdictions. Moreover, many foreign doctors may not have the same level of malpractice insurance.
However, new insurance products are being introduced and now patients can purchase a medical malpractice policy, that will pay out in the event of a negligent medical procedure abroad.
So we encourage patients applying for medical treatment in South Africa to look at insurance products available and any regulations behind the procedures they look to undertake in the country.