Travelling abroad to have medical treatment
It is a long established phenomenon, but has recently been rediscovered. As far back as ancient times, the ancient Greeks crossed the sea to go to Epidaure, sanctuary of the healer god Asklipios. The Romans went to Bath. Today there is a widespread worldwide trend which sees more and more patients going for treatment in another country for various reasons:
- Better quality
- A more attractive price
- Waiting list too long to be operated on in own country
- Desire to combine an operation with a tourist visit
This trend is on the increase. It began around the beginning of 2000 in the United States and UK, where millions of patients leave each year to have medical treatment abroad. Sometimes worried at the idea of leaving their country and expecting the savings they make to be offset by mediocre comfort and quality, they generally return delighted and very surprised at the quality of care they received. The most famous amongst them, Michel Rocard, a former French Prime Minister, who had an emergency operation in a cutting-edge hospital in India declared: “My operation was superbly well carried out. The staff are highly competent and I was cared for very well”.
This medical tourism trend is currently growing in strength in Europe as:
- The search for a good quality of life and stable health is a growing concern as the population ages.
- The health system in many Western countries (including UK) is not always able to finance itself efficiently (in particular due to the aging population). Prices increase, along with the portion of household budgets being devoted to health, further limiting peoples’ purchase power
- The number of doctors being trained decreases whilst demand increases
- The development of the European Union makes exchanges between countries easier than they were before
- Travelling has become easier due to the development of low-cost airlines and high speed trains.
- There are good doctors in every country and, if they obtain good advice, patients going abroad are able to consult the best specialists at much lower prices than in their home country.
- For the first time, a medical doctor, our director, is allowing patients from various countries to benefit from his network of clinics in foreign countries (all English-speaking clinics), organising their medical treatment and providing them with a range of advantageous services.
- Numerous emerging countries have impressive economic growth, a young population and are investing their new resources in their health systems. Very well equipped, ultra-modern hospitals employing doctors trained in the West are thus appearing in Eastern Europe, Turkey, and also in South-East Asia and Latin America.
- More and more doctors from emerging countries who come to work in Western Europe leave for their own countries with up-to-date training allowing them to work there and maybe found a clinic.
Today, it could be you taking this step. You can have the feeling of being ahead of the crowd, but you will benefit from experience acquired through the treatment of thousands of other patients at your destination hospital.