The global impact of COVID-19 has meant putting all activities on hold. Paul McTaggart founder of Singapore-based Dental Departures, a leading dental tourism agency and network with 6,500 dentists in 38 countries, explains the view for dental tourism.
“All our dental and medical clinics/hospitals partners around the globe are experiencing historic challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sadly, there is not one region of the globe that has not been dramatically impacted by this pandemic: the effects to dental/medical tourism have been dramatic. We have seen cities/countries go into quarantine, borders lock-down, and governments implement social distancing. We are now seeing domestic dental clinics recommending cancelling all non-emergency dental treatment.
We are seeing a variety of best practices around the world, based on each country/city/province or legal authority. These include:
- Temperature screening upon arrival of patients and staff.
- Sanitary gel stations at entry/exit points of the clinic/hospitals.
- Face masks for 100% of medical/dental staff at all times during work shifts.
- Requiring staff exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19 to stay at home and self-quarantine for 14 days.
- Requiring patients to complete questionnaires prior to treatment certifying that they have not travelled to/from specific countries nor have they exhibited flu-like-symptoms.
- Banning patients from specific countries from receiving care at their dental facility.
- Banning all elective dental treatments; only permitting emergency dental treatment.
The financial impacts to dental tourism have been dramatic as our business model breaks down when our patients are unwilling or unable to travel (due to quarantines, closed borders or travel bans etc.).
We have seen a global trend of clinic/hospital groups scaling back or closing their operations for the next four-plus weeks. We expect all global dental clinics involved with dental tourism to follow a similar pattern.
We expect 100% of our global dental clinics to reduce operating hours; reduce the size of their staff; or close their doors for a period of time.
This COVID-19 pandemic will pass, and I believe we will see even brighter days ahead.
I also believe the world has/will be pushed into a global recession. As a result of this recession, dental tourism will be perfectly placed to benefit from patients in the United States, Canada, UK, Germany, and France looking for better value on their dental treatment.