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Gomantak Times, Goa's local daily profiled us on 27/06/2005 its front page ..click the newspaper below to read the actual news clipping !
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Article source: India Mike
Go Goa : Suntans and bright smiles included
Go Goa : Suntans and bright smiles included by Reuven Proenca, Gomantak Times 27th July 2005 Goa India
Goa with it combination of super specialty hospitals and luxurious hotels, has been touted as an ideal medical tourism destination where ailing foreigners can combine a relaxing holiday with cheap but effective medical treatment.
But the state is seeing a new trend: hitching onto the medico-leisure bandwagon are dentists who are offering their services at a fraction of the price their foreign clients would expect to pay at home.
Dr. Ambert Pimenta, for example catches the attention of prospective clients with a simple promise: get your dental treatment in Goa and holiday for free. His website (www.goadentist.com) says, "Yes as I promised, here is how you can make your holiday to Goa absolutely FREE ! Consider how much you pay in Europe or America ...are the long lines and frustrating long waits at an NHS dentist wearing you down ? Compare our pricing with that of any NHS service or private practice for that matter, we will leave the competition behind.
The subsequent arithmetic proves his point : the average cost of an all inclusive package holiday being approximately £600 per person. While a dentist in the UK would charge £900 for tooth whitening, three crowns and a bridge Dr. Pimenta, on the other hand does the same job for just £240 (approximately Rs 20,000), which he says amounts to a saving of £660, hence the free holiday. The website also carries details of various dental treatments and a comparison of costs.
While dentists practicing in and around the tourist belts have been treating foreign patients for years now, increasing numbers -like Dr. Pimenta, Dr. Anand Colaco and Dr. Hubert Gomes, to name a few are focusing their sights on the potentially lucrative foreign market. " Last year we had a lot of British patients ," Dr. Pimenta, who has clinics in Margao and Calangute, told Gomantak Times. " Goa is already been marketed as a tourist destination so we are just adding value to the brand by offering them our services"
He says that he first latched onto the idea of catering to tourists when a foreign patient told him how difficult it was to get treated by Britain's National Health Service (NHS).
" He told me he had to sleep on the streets for hours to be among the first to get an appointment. Even then it would take at least six months to get to the dentists chair. What we do here is to offer them a holiday coupled with dental treatment and they get treated like royalty for a fraction of the price they would have to pay back home." Dr. Pimenta explained. He adds that he gets between 300 to 400 patients per season, most of them through word of mouth.
Dentists say the most frequently sort treatment is laser tooth whitening , a 45 minute job that costs approximately Rs 48,000 in Britain and Rs 5,000 in Goa.
Dr. Anand Colaco says, " the cost factor is very attractive to foreigners, unlike other treatments in the west, dental treatment is not subsidised or covered by insurance so they have to shell out exorbitant amounts. When they come to India they see that dental treatment is not only affordable but also of good quality. We also make an effort to build up a rapport with the patients unlike practitioners in the west."
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