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Is Travelling Abroad for Treatment Always the Best Option?

There are some estimates that say travelling abroad for treatment is growing by 15 – 25% each year simply because the NHS is facing a severe shortage of medical personnel. Many NHS clinics and surgeries are overwhelmed with the sheer numbers of patients needing care and this is the main reason so many people are turning to what is now being called “medical tourism.” However, that could be a grave mistake on a number of levels. If you are considering travelling abroad for medical treatment, here is some of what you should keep in mind.

Research Is a Vital First Step

Before making any plans to go abroad for treatment, the first thing you should consider is your safety. While there are some countries that are becoming popular within the medical tourism industry, some of those doctors and clinics may not carry the proper credentials. Take the time to understand the relevant accrediting organisations such as ISQua, JCA and Temos and then do your homework. Is the facility you are considering fully licenced and accredited? That should be your first step.

Read What Other Britons Are Saying

Also, you may want to look for testimonials from other UK residents who have sought treatment there. What do they have to say about their experiences? Have any had an unpleasant experience or had to file for a medical malpractice suit? You might want to check with insurance providers like the Incision Indemnity website to see just what types of cover doctors should carry and then ask the provider you are considering whether they carry that kind of cover.

Does the NHS Pay for Treatment Abroad?

If you are considering treatment in Europe, there may be some services covered under the NHS. This would be something you may want to look into before making any definite arrangements. Some doctors and clinics may be covered whilst others may not. If cost is an issue, this is something worth spending the time to research.

Is Someone Available to Travel with You?

Next on the agenda should be whether you have someone who is able to travel with you. Even though your treatment appears to be straight forward, as with anything else, something can always take an unknown turn. This is especially the case if you are having some kind of surgical procedure and so you should always consider just how wise it would be to travel alone for treatment at a totally unknown facility.

Travel Insurance Isn’t Going to Cover Planned Treatment

Finally, many people make the mistake of thinking that medical travel cover is going to pay for their treatment abroad or all types of trip cancellations. This is actually a totally different kind of cover and one that wouldn’t cover planned, prearranged treatment. If you are relying on this type of cover to help you foot the cost, it would be better to save your money. Travel insurance is meant for those things that are a direct result of travelling.

Think Before You Act

The bottom line is that you should carefully weigh the pros and cons of travelling abroad for treatment. If it isn’t a medical emergency, it might be better to wait in queue to be seen by your own doctor within the NHS. One of the chief complaints many consumers have is that even when their complaints are urgent, the system is so overwhelmed that they aren’t being seen timely. If you feel you are an urgent care patient and need to be seen faster, then do the research named above. However, in the end it is up to you to understand the consequences of seeking care outside the system. Always think before you act.

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