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Medical Tourism

Medical Tourism is defined as organized travel to a chosen destination overseas, to receive healthcare outside of a person's normal healthcare provision in their own country. Cosmetic surgeries are the most popular choice for medical care abroad, closely followed by dental care.

Why do people go overseas for medical care?

The cost of cosmetic and dental care within the UK is much steeper in comparison to abroad destination. Some places can offer the same treatment for less than half of the price charged in the UK. Because of this, it is easy to see why so many people venture aboard for the treatments they so desperately want, but cannot afford. Throw into the mix a free holiday while recuperating, and it really is a bargain! The Medical Tourism Survey found that more than 50,000 people travelled from the UK to seek medical treatment in 2007. The cost for this is estimated to be around 161million.

However, there are concerns that poor health standards aboard are increasing MRSA cases. If you do decide to go abroad for treatment, we strongly advise you to investigate the company and surgeon you will be visiting. Make sure they are fully qualified and legitimate, and if possible, seek clients reviews so you can know exactly what to expect. Don't jump at the first deal you get just because it seems good, shop around and do plenty of homework! Remember, if things seem too good to be true, it probably is. It is important to remember that you are in a potentially vulnerable position and you should do your homework before considering such a venture. It is also essential that you visit your health care provider or GP to discuss your plans.


Medical tourists should be aware that a regular travel insurance policy used for standard holidays will not offer you suitable cover. This also means you will have no cover not only for any wrong surgery or complications resulting from surgery, but also for standard issues such as lost luggage or delays. This is due to a blanket clause on most policies stating that cover is no longer valid if the ?primary purpose? of the trip is to receive medical treatment.

Blood Group

Make sure you know your blood group and the surgeon and company you are receiving treatment from are aware of this. It may also be worthwhile to look into the country you are going to for treatment, and see how you will be able to access a safe supply of blood should you need it.

Fitness to Fly

You will need to ensure that you are fit not only to fly to your destination but back again. Certain types of surgery will require longer recuperation and you should allow plenty of recovery time prior to the return journey. Your surgeon will be able to help with any questions you have regarding this

NHS on Return?

Find out if you can receive treatment within the UK or on the NHS after you return to the country. You may need follow up treatment, or you may need checkups to see how well the wound is healing etc. Whether or not you can do this within the Uk will no doubt have a big impression on whether or not you will go ahead with surgery, as it could end up too time consuming. The importance of returning with detailed medical notes is essential if you are to receive continuity of care.

More Information and Resources

Medical Tourism: Your Complete Guide to Low-Cost Dental, Cosmetic, Medical Care & Surgery Overseas by Paul Gahlinger (2008) is a complete reference to treatment overseas

The Complete Medical Tourist by David Hancock (2006) gives an overview of treatment overseas looking at costs, locations, procedures and sightseeing.

The Complete Medical Tourist by David Hancock (2006) gives an overview of treatment overseas looking at costs, locations, procedures and sightseeing.