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Medical Tourism: What Is It And Where Did It Come From?

by Gloria Louden
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If you’ve ever wanted to go under the knife for a procedure, the thought of heading abroad to have it done has probably crossed your mind. Not to be confused with having unplanned surgery abroad because of an unexpected illness or injury, medical tourism is increasing in popularity with more and more people heading abroad for their choice of procedure.

What is medical tourism?

Defined as the process of travelling outside the country where you live for the purpose of receiving medical care and/or surgery, there are many reasons that people would want to travel elsewhere for treatment.

Why has there been an increase in medical tourism?

Medical tourism is popular for a number of reasons. Often for cosmetic procedures, the cost of surgery abroad is much less than in the UK. For someone looking to have cosmetic surgery privately, the cost can be enormous and not available on the NHS.

But why is it cheaper to have surgery overseas? This is because the cost of labour, whether it’s the nurses, surgeons or pharmacists, is often substantially lower. You’ll also find that when the cost of labour is low, pretty much everything is less expensive including the building rates and the cost of the meals provided in hospital.

You’ll also find its become much more popular as some hospitals abroad offer spa-like luxury! With the chance to be pampered before and after your procedure as well as the chance to recover in a hotel like suite, there’s no surprise that more people are looking into medical tourism.

What are some of the risks?

As with any form of surgery, there are a number of risks involved. In the UK, healthcare is heavily regulated and there are a number of legislations in place to protect you if something goes wrong. However, other countries are slightly different – it’s crucial you check and do plenty of research into the country you’re heading to for the procedure and the medical facility you’ll be staying in.

You’ll also need to be sure of what you need to do if something goes wrong. For example, if you undergo a cosmetic procedure in Turkey and you suffer from an injury or something isn’t right afterwards, do you have the ability to make a medical negligence claim? Unfortunately, if you go to certain countries and you have a bad outcome due to negligence, you’ll have no option to take your case further for compensation.

Make sure that the benefits outweigh the risks before you consider medical tourism as an option for your surgery of choice.

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