Andreas John talks to Dr Joan Alguersuari, president of the private health care provider Grupo Juaneda, about medical offers for foreign patients, and the future of health tourism on Mallorca.
With five hospitals and more than 50 medical centres, the Juaneda Group represents one of the most important pillars of the Balearic health system. The group is headed by Dr Joan Alguersuari, who started his career on Mallorca over 40 years ago with the medical care of tourists.
Nowadays, around 50,000 foreign tourists and island residents a year are treated in one of the Juaneda hospitals or medical centres. And the potential of the island to become one of the most significant destinations for health tourists in the near future is by no means utilized yet, according to Dr Joan Alguersuari.
How does a Catalan doctor end up on Mallorca, where he happens to lead the biggest private health care provider within just a few years?
When I came to Mallorca 42 years ago to work as a doctor, I quickly realized that the foreign vacationists and residents play an important part in the medical care sector on the island. To satisfy the needs of this group of patients has become one of the most essential tasks for our company over the years. This is reflected in our international staff which has the advantage of being able to assist foreign patients in their mother tongue – Germans and British foremost.
So the Juaneda Group now specializes in caring for foreign patients on Mallorca?
Yes. We are, so to speak, the standard bearer in the matter of medical care for foreigners on the island. Apart from the international team of doctors and nurses, there is also the fact that we have been closely collaborating with German and British insurance companies for years. Especially because of the cooperation with public health insurance companies in Germany and England, we can smoothly facilitate non-bureaucratic treatments for our foreign patients.
In the past you have repeatedly expressed the wish to establish Mallorca as a kind of medical ‘Houston’ of the Mediterranean. What did you actually mean by this?
This concerns health tourism. Mallorca possesses all of the requirements to become one of the leading medical treatment destinations in Europe. In addition to the mild climate all year round, the fantastic flight connections and the broad offer of hotels, there are also first-rate clinics and medical specialists.
So why should a vacationist not take advantage and use the time on the island to undergo a beauty treatment, for example? Or have a complete medical check-up? We can even treat more complex illnesses like all types of cancerous diseases here.
Therefore, it is no longer necessary to make expensive and inconvenient trips to the USA in order to have a cancerous ulcer removed, for instance. On Mallorca, we offer the latest medical techniques, as well as qualified staff. Our patients can also be assisted in their native language and with absolute discretion.
The private clinic Juaneda in Palma already specializes in foreign health tourists. How have the experiences been so far?
We have been treating an increasing number of foreigners in the past years. In many cases our services were recommended by friends or family members living on the island. Our clinics Juaneda and Miramar have also performed numerous operations on foreign patients. Moreover, there is a growing demand for a second opinion.
What do you mean by this?
I will give you an example: Not long ago a British lady who lives here on Mallorca, asked us to provide her with a second diagnostic for her father. He had fallen ill during a trip to Brazil and been hospitalized there. Thanks to our modern internet technology we were able to newly diagnose all analyses and results from Brazil.
Is it true that artificial insemination has also become an issue on Mallorca as the laws here are not as complicated as in other European countries?
That´s correct; that´s why some time ago we established the so-called ‘Juaneda Fertility Center’ – where foreign couples can easily and comfortably undergo the corresponding treatments.
What are the plans of the Juaneda Group for the future?
We just inaugurated our ‘International Medical Center’. It is located next to one of Palma’s roundabouts, Son Rapinya, which means right around the corner from Clínica Juaneda. It is tailor-made for the needs of foreign patients and provides a 24-hour medical service in their respective native language. Thus, it is the only health centre in the Balearics which not only offers all medical care, diagnoses, and treatments in English and German, but also the administrative processes. Patients can therefore be treated as if they were in their home country without worrying about not being understood correctly.
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