Medical Tourism Looking Less Healthy

surgery-2Britain has seen many seeking medical attention in over sees facilities in the last 5 years. Treatments such as dental procedures and cosmetic surgery cost less than in UK, there are no long waiting lines and people were trying to avoid infections. However, recently a super bug has been found that came from Indian sub-continent that is now in British hospitals because of people seeking post operatives services after leaving India.

Though patients are being treated for the infections, they are now putting other people at risk who have never gone abroad for procedures. There is concern about the NHS having to pay the tab for botched operations and procedures that occur abroad. MRSA has become a serious problem in British hospitals. The bacteria is resistant, however the prevalence is directly related to the low rates of antibiotics that are prescribed in Britain.


Surveys done of people traveling estimate that 70,000 people a year may be going over seas for medical treatments, cosmetic surgery and dentistry. However, of those people there are no numbers that show many people need procedures redone or repaired due to the medical failures or because of complications. Unfortunately, more people are opting to go over seas and the NHS is picking up the pieces. One in ten members of the British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgeons have had between seven and nine patients with botched procedures in the an 18 month period. Half the members have ha at least one patient that has had complications and other problems from botched procedures in the same time period. As Douglas MacGeorge pointed out, treatment may be more expensive in the UK, but doctors have medical indemnity and there are regulatory requirements to meet.

Many patients go over seas because of sales pitches but never check the credentials of the doctors, exotic locations turn into a vacation with cosmetic procedures done and tax breaks. Plus visa requirements have been made easier for patients. However, many people return home only to have numerous complications from the procedures they had done. The British Dental Association has found that 29% of dentists have had to treat patients for complications due to poor quality treatment, infections and pain.

Though the recession has scaled back cosmetic and elective surgeries, infertility treatment is still on the rise. This is part of India’s growing industry. Mainly because there are fewer legal restrictions, fewer regulations and a larger supply of eggs.

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