Did you know that at least 63,000 Britons travel overseas for medical care and treatment annually? And according to Medigo.com (a medical travel advice website), enquiries from UK patients have increased tremendously in the last 6 months which can possibly mean that at least or more than 190K Britons are planning to medical travel. The report presented by the travel advice website also indicated that 70% of these enquiries were from patients wanting dental treatments, laser eye treatments and glaucoma surgeries.
Let’s take a look at some of the UK patient motivations to travel abroad for medical treatment and care:
Motivation# 1 Long NHS Waiting Lists
Although the NHS constitution gives Britons the right to access medical services within a max time frame, the number of patients in the NHS waiting lines for treatment is still significant. According to the National Statistics presented by the UK’s National Health Service, waiting time for RTT
(Referral to Treatment) for patients was nearly 9 weeks that makes it about 2 months and more. So, instead of waiting for months to get treatment, Britons are now motivated to medical travel and get treatments when needed.
Motivation# 2 Major Cost Savings
According to the 2015 Medical Travel Trends UK report, dentistry was ranked among the most popular and sought after treatments for Britons seeking care abroad. Furthermore, the report also showed that Eastern European countries including Poland & Hungary are among the most visited destinations for British patients while Thailand is the most popular long haul destination among patients from the UK.
Though many medical treatments are covered under NHS, they are however contingent upon treatment type and diagnosis. For example dental implants are covered by the UK’s National Health Service but when and if there is a demonstrated and urgent medical need in cases where patients can’t wear dentures or have experienced jaw damage. Besides this, for superior dental options, patients must pay from their pockets. And as the cost is so high, it can put a big dent in the pockets of the patients. Therefore, they prefer to get the treatment done from abroad.
Motivation# 3 Low Cost of Cosmetic Surgery
The low cost of cosmetic surgery is proving to be a big motivation for Britons to medical travel. As cosmetic treatments are cheaper abroad, it has made it much easier for even middle and low income groups in Britain to afford cosmetic treatments and go under the knife to look better. Since cosmetic treatments are too expensive in the UK, thinking of getting such treatments done seemed like a far-fetched dream for low and middle income groups but not anymore.