Thousands of Brits heading abroad for medical tourism


With long wait times in the UK, costs high, and cheap package deals available overseas, many Brits are heading abroad for medical tourism.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), an estimated 248,000 travelled to another country for surgery in 2019.

However, both cosmetic surgery and other treatments can involve risks. Because of these, last week it was announced the UK government would meet officials in Turkey to discuss regulations around medical and cosmetic tourism as over 25 British nationals have died in the country since January 2019 after having medical procedures.

International prescription referral service Universal Drugstore has offered its advice to those considering surgery abroad:

  • Do your research – consider the qualifications of those treating, and the standards and facilities of the clinic
  • Have a travel health risk assessment before travelling – plan ahead for vaccines, and check with the airline and insurance company for coverage
  • Be wary of language barriers – if the doctor or surgeon speaks another language, it will be difficult to discuss the procedure and any concerns
  • Plan sufficient leave from work – factor in time for healing, the journey home and a period of recovery.

The medical tourism market is projected to be worth US$97.9 billion by 2030.



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