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Rediff.com  » Business » Apollo cuts healthcare rate for UK patients

Apollo cuts healthcare rate for UK patients

March 19, 2004 17:19 IST

Another form of Indian outsourcing is poised to storm the United Kingdom and European markets.

Move over banks, insurance companies, rail and telephone inquiries that have successfully outsourced their services to Indian call centres and saved tens of millions of pounds and euros in the process.

Enter the world of top class medical care at cut rate prices, courtesy the Apollo network of 37 hospitals that wants to throw open its doors to those British patients who cannot afford to wait for months on end for the life enhancing operations they so desperately need.

Free medical care is still available on Britain's National Health Service, but the queues for treatment are so long that patients are falling off their perch as they wait to be seen.

Apollo's solution is to offer privatised healthcare in India for a fraction of what it would cost to obtain the same treatment on the open market in the UK.

"A pace maker package would cost about £1600 at our centres, compared to £7500 in the UK," says Apollo CEO George Eapen who is visiting London to publicise Apollo's services. Heart bypass surgery would cost £4,500 in India compared to nearly £20,000 in the UK."

Addressing a meeting of British Non-Resident Indians in London on Thursday night, including a number of well known Indian doctors, he added, "I am offering this as a service to patients who require immediate medical attention. They are all cash patients."

Eapen's ultimate goal is to persuade the NHS to sub contract billions of pounds worth of patient care to Apollo, but, failing that, he is prepared to reach a deal with the UK's medical insurers and those hospitals outside the state system who treat patients on a private, cash only basis.

Apollo's has an impressive record of treating foreign patients.

"At the Chennai centre alone, doctors treat four to five foreigners every day. This translates into 3,000-4,000 foreign patients treated every year across the entire network," Eapen told rediff.com.

Asked where such patients come from, Eapen explains that most are from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, South East Asia and the Middle East. In the case of Arab patients Apollo has an entire team of Arabic speaking nurses, cooks and drivers ready to look after their needs.

Although Apollo is currently scouting for new patients in London and Paris, Eapen said his staff had also opened an information centre in Pakistan.

As detente progresses between New Delhi and Islamabad, the floodgates are expected to open for thousands of Pakistani patients to be treated at Apollo's hospitals in India.

Shyam Bhatia in london