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Health & Fitness | Medical Tourism


nature of their diagnosis, certifi ed medical consultants will be able to outline the best treatment options and destinations. If, after these considerations, the


patient decides to go ahead, the medical tourism provider will then supply recommendation letters for a medical visa to be provided by the chosen country’s embassy. Once this has been granted, the patient is free to travel there to begin treatment. The entire duration of the treatment process will be overseen by a case executive, however, once the procedure is completed, the patient is free to return home or remain on holiday in the treatment destination as they choose.


IS OVERSEAS TREATMENT FOR ME?


For many people, the decision to go abroad for a procedure— however serious—may not be an easy one. Although the potential benefi ts are clear, the possible risks associated with overseas treatment and the unease of being unwell so far from home can be off-putting. In order to decide whether medical tourism is right for you, it is best to weigh up the main benefi ts and risks that apply to your case:


Benefi ts  Cost: For treatments


Health Tip! Sun exposure can


darken scars, so


patients who remain in their host country after surgery should stay out of the sun.


Did you know?


Medical tourism accreditation greatly reduces the risks often associated with overseas treatment. The World Health Organisation’s World Alliance for Patient Safety aims to assist hospitals around the world in setting the best patient policy and practice when providing medical tourism services. Similarly, a number of UK organisations (such as The United Kingdom Accreditation Forum) exist to share good practice and ideas about improving healthcare quality.


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not available on the NHS–particularly dental or cosmetic—travelling to countries in Southeast Asia, for example, can be a clever way of accessing care by well-trained doctors for a fraction of the cost.  Waiting times: Paying for treatment abroad can mean almost immediate medical attention instead of waiting months in the UK on an NHS waiting list.  Choice: On the NHS, there can be restrictions regarding the degree of choice patients have as to when and where they receive their treatment, which doctor performs the procedure and even the type of treatment they are offered. All of these choices can be made available through medical tourism.  Holiday opportunity: Many people who travel overseas for treatment take it as an opportunity for a holiday.


Once the procedure is fi nished, they are able to recuperate in the sunshine or experience a new culture before returning home. In some cases, local therapies such as Indian yoga and Thai massage can be an additional aid to the recovery process.


Risks  Infectious disease: In some


countries, such as India, the risk of infectious disease is much higher, which means that it may not be a sensible choice for people with weaker immune systems who are more susceptible to infection.  Post-operative care: The standard of post-operative care in other countries can vary, and is something you should investigate when researching destinations for your procedure.  Complications: Although uncommon, complications can arise from undertaking a long journey shortly after surgery. For this reason, medical tourism providers advise that patients take the opportunity to remain in their host country following surgery to minimise the risk.  Distance: In the unlikely event that anything should go wrong, undergoing treatment in another country—or another continent—means that you are far away from family and loved ones. For this reason, most people choose to travel with a signifi cant other or family member. 


DEAR DOCTOR WITH DR. CHRIS STEELE 65


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