Travelling For Treatment, Everything You Need To Know About Medical Tourism.

Travel Clinic Tropical Medicine

Medical tourism is a growing trend amongst travellers. If you are considering having any treatment done as part of your travels, then here is everything you need to know before you go.

For a long time, the only time backpackers and travellers would ever see the inside of a hospital was when they came a cropper from having too many whisky buckets or after contracting a strange tropical lurgy, but recently there has been a surge in backpackers all over the world taking at least part of their trips to get elective surgeries or some form of medical treatment. Some are even basing entire trips around it and taking the time out to recuperate afterwards.

This trend is called medical tourism, and it has exploded in recent years into a multi billion pound industry.

Medical tourism is essentially any type of travel where people travel specifically for medical treatment, or get treatment as a part of their longer travels. Everything from major surgery to dentistry, body enhancements or even getting a hair transplant, any elective treatment in fact can and is sought after by travellers.

It isn’t as easy as walking into a clinic and getting some work done though, if you really want to get elective medical treatment when you travel, there are a few things you need to know and questions you should ask first. The CDC and the NHS in the UK are excellent sources of information to do your research, but here are the basics.

  • Think carefully about the cost, elective treatments are usually covered by yourself alone unless it is part of a reciprocal agreement with the NHS and the EU, but even then you may be expected to bare the brunt of the expenses up front.
  • Not all medical tourism is created equally, and standards do vary around the world. Many countries such as the UK, Singapore, the US and Europe will obviously have standards held up to international guidelines. Not every country will. Do your own research first and look at where you want to be treated.
  • Some countries such as Singapore or Malaysia are popular because they allow for long recuperation times in relative luxury at relatively low cost compared to other countries such as the USA or Europe.
  • You should also check the qualifications of the staff and standards of care judged by regulatory bodies at any clinic or facility you want work done.
  • Think about the language barrier too, will the facility have staff that speak your language fluently, or do you speak theirs? Miscommunication can lead to misunderstandings during the after care and you don’t want to be calling for pain relief only to receive an extra jelly cup.
  • Have thorough consultations beforehand to discuss your treatment and ask any questions you may have. Obviously the level of procedure will dictate how many you need, but at a bare minimum you want to be talking to the clinic at least a month or two before hand.
  • You will need to determine exactly what the procedure itself and all of the after care will entail, how long you should expect to recuperate afterwards, any risks associated with the procedure and what to do about travel before and after. This should include any activities to avoid such as sunbathing or drinking alcohol.
  • You should also have a written contract detailing all the fees and every treatment, equipment, supplies and associated care that those fees cover.
  • Include in that contract details of what legal action can be taken in the event of something going wrong (the standard associated risks usually won’t be covered automatically).
  • Make sure you have copies of all your medical records, past medical history and any medications you are on, and obtain a copy of all new medical records from your procedure after you have had it done.
  • Depending on the procedure itself, arrange for follow up care or a check up either when you get home, or back at the clinic you had the procedure at an agreed time after you have had the work done.

There are obviously many risks associated with having any kind of treatment done when travelling, but with the right knowledge and research a lot of that can be mitigated beforehand.

What do you think? Did you enjoy this article? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below or please join in the discussion on my Facebook or Twitter pages on this important topic, and please feel free to share it with any or all of the social media buttons and spread the word.

If you want to get more great backpacking tips, advice and inspiration, please subscribe to updates via email in the box to your right.

Disclaimer

This article was written in partnership with the Harley Street Hair Clinic. The views and opinions expressed are entirely the authors own based on personal experiences when travelling and are honest and factual without any bias.

Michael Huxley is a published author, freelance travel writer and founder of Bemused Backpacker. He is also a charge nurse by vocation with an interest in emergency nursing and travel medicine, but his real passion is travel. Since finding his wanderlust a decade ago in South East Asia, he has bounced from one end of the planet to another and has no intention of slowing down.

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Travel Health
4 comments on “Travelling For Treatment, Everything You Need To Know About Medical Tourism.
  1. Sarah says:

    I had no idea this was even a thing! Do people actually do this? I mean really?

  2. Jean says:

    I’m always worried about doing this! When I was last in Bangkok I didn’t know my hotel was the facelift recovering centre. I thought everyone was in some weird politely dressed cult. Took me a few days to figure it out.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Hi, I'm Michael! I'm a published author, qualified nurse and world travelling professional adventurer! I have spent 15 years travelling over 100 countries and I want to inspire you to do the same! Want to know more about me? Just click here!

Get notified about all the latest travel tips, advice and inspiration as well as amazing competitions and exclusive discounts!

Join 20,041 other followers

Copyright notice.

© Bemused Backpacker and the gecko logo is owned and copyrighted by Michael Huxley 2017. Unless stated, all blog and website content is owned and copyrighted by Michael Huxley 2017.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Michael Huxley is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michael Huxley and Bemused Backpacker with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Protected by Copyscape DMCA Copyright Detector

%d bloggers like this: