You started Surgeon & Safari in 1999 – How has your business grown since then and in relation to the industry as a whole?
Having spearheaded the industry not only in SA but globally and over the time observed the entry of cheap alternative destination grown in our focus ensuring the quality and service of South African surgeons in private practise whom are ethical, honest to patients ensuring they have realistic expectations, have the correct malpractice insurance to operate on our overseas clients and Private Health care together with our personalise enquiry service though to aftercare, support and follow up making it a constant experience.
Making information keys so that clients can make an informed decisions – In other words we will not cut corners and cost at the cost of quality – Making our product a reliable reputable option Surgeon and Safari has continued to look for the competitive edge and thus developed a private home accommodation environment making the recuperation a comfortable “home from home” experience with a truly personalised aftercare which has become the preferred choose of our repeat clients The business has grown to most areas in the globe and moved into other medical speciality needs including some medical clients other than elective procedures We have establish a reliable consistent reputation with a strong repeat client and past client referral base
What kind of cost differences can potential patients coming from the UK expect when booking procedures in South Africa?
The total cost of surgery if comparing to the equitable from the UK private health care sector you are looking at about half the cost with more value for your money in terms of immediate post op care in private hospitals and medical follow up back in the UK – we also use email for follow up once clients are back home Most ex pats will use our service to facilitated their surgery and many stay with family and friends and will plan with an already planned returned trip thus not using accommodation package or if they do just for few days.
Other clients want the after care and follow up which is not offered in the UK and will therefore opts to stay at our facility giving them peace of mind as we take care of everything so that they can focus on themselves and their recovery thus making sure they are taken care of with all their consultation admission into hospital and assistance and reassurance during recovery If taking advantage of the recuperation accommodation together with the surgery and service it will come to the same cost of just the surgery in the UK We also work with surgeons whom fly to London every 3 months offer pre-operative consultation and follow up after they return home.
What are your personal comments on the post-operative care
facilities in South Africa?
I can only comment on Surgeon and Safari which has taken additional care with the service and support offered to clients post operative care by offered personalised support and escorts at all time – it is important the clients have emotional support One has to be careful about what the surgeons whom have their own facilities and doing procedure in room and clients having no overnight in hospitals with no medical backup ... and other operators putting clients into hotels – leaving patients with inexperienced hands with little personalised input.
What medical and post-operative care facilities are utilised by
Surgeon & Safari?
Firstly we ensure that clients are kept in hospitals for at least 24 – 48 hours depending on the procedure where they will receive 24 hours nursing this is the time when medical complications can occur and we like to ensure that they have the correct medical backup on hand and only after they are clearly on the path to medical health will they discharged Being independent facilitators we offer client the “outsider ear” for any complaints and ensure that these are address as and when they expressed using communication as a tool to recovery as it is important the clients express how they are feeling and need a lot of reassurance. If they need additional medical support they will be taken back to the hospital with the necessary specialists needed. So we offer an important emotional vessel for clients at a vulnerable time when they are out of their comfort zone away from home - see above.
What areas in South Africa are most popular?
Yet again Surgeon and Safari has most clients coming to Johannesburg as it is the bigger medical hub.
Where do the majority of your patients come from?
Firstly they are the medical patients of the specialist yet our clients and as a result will take care of the client’s needs and the surgeons take responsibility for the medical needs where we act as the facilitator focused on the client needs at all times When we started the USA was the largest market which was followed by the UK No we find a larger ex pat market coming from Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
What Procedures are most popular?
- Elective surgery which will be Plastic surgery with the procedure depending on the age profile we tend to cater for the older age so it will be Breast lifts, Facelift and Tummy tuck being the more popular – The larger prices procedures and often they will have up to 3 procedures at a time
- Elective cosmetic Dentistry which many of our repeat clients do when they return – having Crowns and implants
- Ophthalmic procedure – Ilasik
- Orthopaedic – Arthroscopies
Do patients favour wine land getaways or bush safaris or a combination of both?
Most clients focus in their surgery - expectations of quality input and their recuperation – Seeking valued added service first time travellers to SA will tends to the day trip in and around the city of recuperation and on repeat trips take an extended trip to do a combination as the explore SA – so their Surgery experience becomes the catalyst for future trip having received good service and hospitality in SA sunshine and energy.
Ex pats seldom embark on additional tours as they are returning home with the focus of visiting family and friends and getting a good dose.
In your own words what does SA offer over other surgical destination?
First private health care, English spoken language – first world infrastructure and personalised after care – good western food How does medical tourism impact SA tourism as a whole You need to ask SATourism whom have not identified this industry nor offered support as in cases like India and Thailand – so each alone We have had many clients spend large amounts of money and on repeat trip invested in property so I have to assume the benefit has reached beyond tourism but rather the economy as whole – most of all our clients have had a positive SA experience and in most cases exceeded their expectation about SA – fears of crime, third world etc ... all the negatives.
Are your surgeons properly qualified?
- We only use surgeons who are qualified, certified and registered medical doctors and specialists in South Africa.
- All our surgeons are registered with their respective specialist associations and thus adhere to those professional codes of conduct and have no malpractice Law suites lodged against them.
- We elect to work with select top surgeons whom have successful private practises with high standards of ethics.
- These surgeons pride themselves on the quality of their work, and take time to ensure that you are comfortable with your choice and ensure that you have realistic expectations.
- They will not perform procedures if they feel you would be compromised in any way from a health or medical point of view.
- We only use Surgeons who have the correct and necessary malpractice insurance coverage to operate on our overseas clients.
Will I not compromise quality for the better price you offer?
- The quality of the skills and services we offer is amongst the very best in the world.
- The fact that our pricing is so competitive is due to favourable exchange rates and is the cherry on top – service and professionalism will always come first.
- Our medical evaluation standards and feedback systems are our key success factors.
- The medical tourism industry suffers from a lack of standards, with price often undercutting the quality of the medical service on offer.
- Beware of cheap alternatives - You will long forget the cost of your surgery but will live with the results forever.
How will my concerns and fears be addressed?
We fully understand that people might have different expectations and can not stress enough that you have a right to all the information required to make an informed choice decision and urge everyone to ask the questions that concern them most and only make the final decision once you are satisfied with the answers.
- Are you able to use extended forms of communication like Email, Telephone and communicate with Past clients?
- Have you asked questions, raised your concerns and fears?
- How do you feel about how the Surgeon has addressed your questions?
- Has your communication been open and honest?
- Are you sure that you have realistic expectations?
- Have you been made aware of the benefits and risks involved?
Are the medical facilities up to standard and fully equipped to deal
with my procedure?
- We only offer operations and procedures which are performed at Private Hospitals which are owned by large public listed companies specializing in Private Health Care.
- All the private Hospitals are fully certified in line with international standards with fully equipped ICU facilities and 24 hour nursing.
- Procedures are all done in fully equipped operating rooms with all the necessary qualified staff and equipment.
- Patients are admitted as private patients in private rooms and kept in hospitals for minimum of 24 hours post operative extended depending on the procedure performed.
How will I be cared for after the operation is done?
- Surgeon and Safari has it own recuperation accommodation facility which is a large private home situated in an up market residential area with private en suite rooms with large garden and pool area making your experience very private with full facilities in a truly home from home environment.
- All clients have a personal assistant whom accompanies them to all their medical appointments, stays with them on the day of surgery, calls family and friends back home once surgery is done.
- Understanding client’s national background is imperative so that we can ensure needs are addressed during recuperation like meals, and home language.
- We visit and call our clients daily during their 7 – 12 - 21 days stay ensuring that all their emotional and post operative needs are addressed – We take care.
- We assist all our clients with suitable activities during their recuperation.
- Clients will have 2 – 3 post operative consultations with their surgeon and have all removable stitches etc removed before leaving South Africa.
How do you handle folow-ups once I am back in my home country?
- All clients are required to stay in their town of surgery for an appropriate period of time thus ensuring that they are on the correct healing path.
- We ask that all our client keep in touch with us once back home as their continued healing process is important to us.
- We use email as an effective feedback and follow up system.
- If any complication may arise we will evaluate the situation and deal with it accordingly – In the unlikely event that any further surgery will be required a return visit will be necessary.
What if something goes wrong?
- We like you to ask questions thus understanding the risks involved with elective procedures thus making an informed choice.
- All clients are admitted as private patients in a fully certified private hospital where their procedure is performed in a technologically advantaged operative room with qualified operating room staff.
- We ensure that all clients stay in hospital, where they have 24 hour nursing together with the necessary medical backup like ICU for 24 – 48 hours - If there is going to be any medical complication it will arise in this time period.
- We require our clients to stay in the city of surgery for a period of time thus ensuring that they have adequate post operative consultation with their surgeon ensuring that they are medically healed before they leave.
What insurance cover options do I have?
- There is no insurer who will cover elective surgery or any possible medical complication arising from having elective procedure.
- We do however advise that you take out regular comprehensive travel insurance when purchasing you airline ticket.
- For medical procedures we advise you get authorisation from your medical insurance before travelling - we will be glad to forward medical codes.
- We only use Surgeons who have adequate South African Medical insurance and the necessary malpractice cover in order to operate on our overseas clients and medical tourist from around the world.
Are blood transfusions safe and what about HIV/Aids?
- Blood in South Africa, due to HIV AIDS additional precautions are taken and can assure you all blood used is tested following international standards.
- The chance of receiving contaminated blood in SA is no greater than anywhere else in the world, including the USA and UK that uses international standards for testing blood.
- South African blood donors are not paid to donate their blood.