New Zealand's Medtral offers affordable alternative to Western Canadians seeking out-of-country health care



    AUCKLAND, New Zealand, Sept. 3 /CNW/ - Medtral New Zealand, a leading
provider of health care for patients from other countries, has started
offering its services to Canadians who want to avoid long waiting times for
elective medical treatment at home.
    Medtral New Zealand Executive Chairman Dr. Edward Watson, says
New Zealand is now just a 14-hour direct flight away from Western Canada with
three flights a week in summer between Vancouver and Auckland and two flights
a week at other times of the year. This makes it a viable alternative to other
destinations that many Canadian currently choose for elective treatment.
    He says Medtral New Zealand also offers major medical procedures at
substantially lower costs than private hospitals in the US without
compromising on the quality of care. Even factoring in the cost of airfares
and associated accommodation, Medtral's medical and travel packages can save
patients as much as 70 per cent of the cost of the procedure alone in the US.
    Medtral New Zealand's services are aimed at Canadians who need elective
procedures such as joint replacements or cardiac surgery, for which the
waiting lists can sometimes be many months, or even years.
    "We know that Canada provides excellent medical care and that patients
who need immediate treatment are well catered for. However, we also know that
there are long waiting lists for many non-urgent and elective procedures and
that some patients don't want to endure the wait. Our service is designed to
offer those patients an alternative, not to supplant the Canadian medical
system," says Dr. Watson.
    He adds that New Zealand is a sophisticated, well-developed,
English-speaking country that has world-class private surgical and
recuperative care facilities and is both medically and culturally aligned with
Canada.
    "Travelling to New Zealand will not be a foreign experience for most
Canadians," says Dr. Watson. "Our doctors are trained in North America, the UK
as well as New Zealand, and the hospitals we use in Auckland are independently
assessed and accredited by Quality Health New Zealand to international
standards."
    Medtral New Zealand already has a foothold in the US where it works with
self-insured companies to provide out-of-country treatment to employees at a
lower cost than they would have to pay for the same treatment in the US.
    "Canada is obviously a different market," says Dr. Watson. "The various
provincial medical services plans cover health care, but sometimes there is a
long wait for elective non-urgent procedures. Therefore, it's up to
individuals to decide whether they want to pay for elective treatment outside
of Canada. For those Canadians who don't want to wait, we believe New Zealand
is a very attractive option compared to other destinations."
    For example, a woman living in the US paid US$75,000 for a hip
replacement at a New York private hospital. Two years later when she needed
her other hip replaced, which was performed in New Zealand where the cost for
the same procedure was approximately US$15,000.
    "We are able to offer equivalent services at substantially lower costs
than the US because our overheads are much lower and the cost structures in
our medical system are very different to those in the US," says Dr. Watson.

    Medtral New Zealand focuses mainly on therapeutic rather than cosmetic
procedures, and takes care of every aspect of a patient's needs including
travel, airport transfers, pre-operative accommodation and post-operative
recuperation.
    Medtral New Zealand's service offering includes total hip and knee joint
replacement, hip resurfacing, coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) and
robotic prostatectomy.
    For more information, please visit www.medtral.com





For further information:

For further information: To arrange an interview with Dr. Edward Watson
please call: Lorraine Wilson, (604) 351-9205; Chris Freimond, (604) 990-1378

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MEDTRAL NEW ZEALAND

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