Now, this is the job of Khaled Guizani and his colleagues who are specialized on Arab countries and Russia. They have regular contact to foreign physicians and present themselves on international trade fairs. And they support the patients in organizing their journey. “We send invitations to the embassies and affirm the date for surgery. This makes it easier for the patient to get a visa”, says the Tunisian. His first language is Arabic, an ideal qualification for the contact to patients from the Arab world. “In addition to this we try to find an interpreter for the patients and we recommend tourist attractions like the theme park Phantasialand.”
Foreign patients mostly come in the summer
The marketing strategy is successful. Three percent of the patients at Kaiser-Karl-Klinik are from foreign countries. Although this is only a little part of all patients, the average of foreign people in all German hospitals is only about 0.4 percent. “Especially in the summer foreign patients mean an extra income for us”, says Bärbel Langwasser-Greb, managing director of the Kaiser-Karl-Klinik. Many German patients decide for surgery and rehabilitation in the winter. That is why foreign patients are welcome in the summer. Especially for Arabic patients this is also a good solution because they can escape from the hot weather in their home country. Another reason why foreign patients are welcome guests is that they often stay longer in hospital than German patients because in their home countries they often have not the possibility to get outpatient treatment with physiotherapy and rehabilitation.
In 2007, Bonn has made a turnover of seven million Euros with foreign patients, in 2008 even nine million Euros. However, studies prove that also the whole region benefits from foreign patients. Al Hussaimi Zainab and her daughter are in Germany for two months. Before surgery they lived in a hotel and they went to hospital only for medical checkups if it was necessary. “We visited the city and once we were in Belgium and France”, says the Arab woman. A German patient spends about 13 Euros a day in Bonn, a patient of the United Arab Emirates 185 Euros.
Al Hussaimi Zainab will leave the hospital in Bonn next week. “I felt very good here. The medical and human care sometimes was better than in my home country.” Maybe she only wants to be polite. However, she will recommend a medical treatment in Germany in her home country. And she will return herself if it should be necessary.