An Intro to Health Tourism

Live to 100 delves into the issue of health tourism, providing some facts and stats to educate those who are looking to travel overseas for their healthcare requirements.

Medical tourism, to put it simply, is the act of travelling to a foreign country to seek medical care or undergo procedures. The recent boom in this industry may be down to a few factors, not least of which is affordability and cost savings. Read on for a series of statistics on the matter. 

Some key considerations

It’s crucial to ask your chosen doctor, specialist or surgeon all the relevant questions before you decide to go abroad for treatment. This way, you’ll be able to go into your procedure with peace of mind. If you’re considering medical treatment abroad, think very carefully and make sure to…

  • Check the credentials and experience of the doctor, specialist or surgeon who will be performing the treatment or procedure
  • Provide a complete medical history
  • Enquire about possible risks and complications—all procedures carry an element of risk, even the simplest ones
  • Discuss what to expect after the procedure and the estimated time of recovery
  • Ask about post-operative check-ups and visits
  • Ensure that the correct pre-operative tests have been carried out prior to surgery
  • Research the brand of any implant being used

Health tourism facts and stats

  • According to the Global Medical Tourism Market 2017-2021 report, the international health tourism market is set to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12.5% during the period of 2017-2021.
  • NHS waiting times are now the longest they have ever been. Over 409,000 people wait more than 18 weeks for treatment—a rise from 34,000 in 2014. 
  • A recent investigation carried out by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) suggests more Britons are choosing to travel abroad for their healthcare. According to their report, the number of people seeking medical treatment overseas has increased from 48,000 in 2014 to almost 144,000 in 2016.
  • Countries like Spain, which heavily market their fertility services, saw a ten-fold rise in patients flying there from the UK.
  • ONS figures show there were 143,996 flights from the UK for medical reasons, compared with 100,338 in 2015 and 48,190 in 2014.
  • Hungary saw a doubling in the number of people travelling there for medical reasons. Dentistry, fertility services and cosmetic surgery are popular there.
  • Similarly, a seven-fold rise was seen in medical journeys to Greece—a country which specialises in IVF treatments, among other things. 
  • Figures show countries such as Switzerland and France, both popular destinations for patients looking for orthopaedic care, saw a six-fold increase and 60% rise (respectively) between 2015 and 2016 alone.

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