Mention the phrase “medical tourism” to most people in the UK and immediately they’ll start to talk to you about botch jobs on the steamy backstreets of South America or horror stories of people left “sans organs” in baths of ice.
What they probably won’t appreciate is that health and medical tourism is actually one of the fastest growing industries in the world, and that it offers hundreds of thousands of people the opportunity to receive treatments that are far quicker, safer and more technologically advanced than those in the UK, and all for a fraction of the cost.
The advent of low-cost international air travel has significantly broadened the scope of treatment for those seeking medical procedures abroad. It is now possible to gain access to the world’s leading practitioners in the fields of cosmetic surgery, fertility treatment, and dental care within a few hours of leaving your front door.
Health and Medical tourism abroad offers a number of benefits when compared with domestic healthcare. One of the primary benefits is financial – many people in the UK either delay treatments or settle for second rate procedures simply because of the cost factors. But the strength of the pound in the international currency markets means there are now excellent deals that can be struck with overseas practitioners. Often people opting for medical treatment abroad will get the same treatment they’d get in the UK for at least half the cost. Even including travel and accommodation expenses, the most expensive treatments available will usually be hundreds of pounds cheaper than their UK equivalents.
Seeking healthcare abroad also allows you access to treatments and procedures that currently aren’t available in the UK. Although the UK healthcare system is regarded with envy by many countries around the globe, there are numerous nations that possess expertise in particular fields of medicine that far surpass what’s available for the domestic patient.
Of course, as with any major investment, it pays to do your research. There are hundreds of sites on the internet offering cheap healthcare treatments, but it’s hard to know which practitioners are trustworthy, or whether glowing testimonials actually bear any resemblance to reality. The best way to find out if a practitioner is right for you is to meet them face to face. This is getting increasingly easier to do, as many of the top clinics abroad now have UK-based consultancies where you can go and discuss every aspect of your treatment in detail. There has also been a rise in trade expos such as Destination Health (www.destinationhealth.co.uk) where you can visit and talk with a vast array of health professionals across the road. Expos like this are excellent as they offer you the chance to visit lots of different practitioners quickly and easily and also allow you to compare and contrast the different types of service available.
Once you’ve chosen the procedure you want and the practitioner you want to perform it, provided you’ve choose wisely you’ll find you’ll receive the same standards of professionalism, cleanliness and care that you receive in Britain for a fraction of the cost.