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New Medical Tourism Research Study Released: 9 Out of 10 Medical Tourists Would do It Again

A major new study released today reveals the latest trends in travelling overseas for medical treatment, be it for health-related, dental, infertility, obesity or cosmetic treatment or surgery. More than 1,000 patients took part in the study, the largest of its kind in the UK and Europe.

Among the findings of the report commissioned by independent medical tourism advice site, Treatment Abroad, are new statistics showing where people are going, what they’re having done, how much they’re saving and whether they’d do it again or recommend it to others.

Key findings:

  • · Belgium was the most popular destination for those in the UK travelling overseas for treatment (16%), followed by Hungary (16%), Poland (10%), Czech Republic (9%) and Turkey (9%).
  • · 42% of the UK patients in the study went abroad for cosmetic surgery, 32% for dental treatment, 9% for obesity surgery, and 4% for both infertility treatment and orthopaedic surgery.
  • · Hungary was the most popular destination for dental treatment (chosen by 38% of UK dental travellers) while Belgium was most popular for cosmetic surgery (18%). The most popular destinations for obesity surgery treatment were Belgium (50%) and the Czech Republic (21%). Spain, Cyprus and the Czech Republic lead the way in providing infertility treatment for UK couples.
  • · Nine out of ten respondents would definitely or probably go abroad for treatment again and the same number would recommend going abroad for treatment to a friend or relative. 84% would go back to the same doctor, dentist or clinic.
  • · 51% of respondents travelled to a country they had never been to before for their treatment.
  • · Patient satisfaction levels for their treatment abroad were high with 85% either “very” or “quite” satisfied with their experience. Levels of satisfaction were highest for infertility and dental treatments. Asked for reasons for their satisfaction, all respondents cited professionalism of staff, price and quality of care.
  • · Cost was cited by 83% of participants as the most important reason for travelling abroad for treatment. Dental patients also cited the ability to combine treatment with a holiday while cosmetic surgery patients cited worries about hospital infection in the UK. Orthopaedic, infertility and obesity surgery patients all cited the ability to avoid waiting lists at home.
  • · 71% said they had saved more than £2,000 by travelling overseas. 12.7% said they had saved more than £10,000 by going abroad for treatment. The greatest savings were seen to have been for dental and orthopaedic treatment.
  • · 82% of respondents said that clinic or hospital staff spoke their language “very” or “extremely” well. Only 4.4% said staff spoke their language “not at all well,” a regularly cited concern of those thinking of treatment overseas.
  • · More than two thirds (67.2%) said they did not require further treatment or follow up on returning home. Seven out of ten were contacted by their overseas clinician or clinic upon their return home, usually by email.
  • · The average in-patient stay among respondents was just three days with the average trip length being 16 days. The longest stay was for orthopaedic patients, the shortest for obesity patients.
  • · Worryingly, fewer than one in ten of those who took part had bought special travel insurance designed for people going abroad for medical treatment, mistakenly relying on standard travel insurance that would not have covered them in the result of loss or accident. One in three had no travel insurance at all.

Commenting on the findings, Keith Pollard, Managing Director of Treatment Abroad said he was surprised by some of the figures:
“I’ve been involved in the cosmetic surgery and medical sector for many years and have witnessed the rapid growth in travel overseas for surgery and treatment. I was surprised to see, however, exactly how much money people were saving by travelling abroad, and how satisfied they were with the experience.

“So often overseas treatment is portrayed as being a poor alternative to what is available in the UK and yet it’s clear from this survey that that is simply not true. The vast majority of people who go overseas for treatment are delighted with the not only with the experience and the levels of care but also with the results, be it medical or cosmetic – and that, for most people, is the most important thing – that they get the results they want and need.”

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