Medical tourism on the rise as Brits seek surgery abroad

Caroline Cassidy

The number of Britons seeking medical treatment abroad is on the rise, according to the latest figures.

Medical tourism on the rise
Medical tourism on the rise

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Research by reveals that up to 70,000 people are currently flying to foreign climes for treatment, and the combination of long NHS waiting lists and budget cuts could see many more opting for an op abroad.

At the heart of the health tourism boom is cosmetic surgery, with procedures such as breast enlargements, tummy tucks and laser eye surgery accounting for almost 50 per cent of overseas treatment.

But other ops such as hip and knee operations are also proving popular among the over-50s. Given that in some cases it is possible to save up to 75 per cent of the cost of private treatment in the UK, it's easy to see why Brits are tempted.

India and Malaysia are popular choices for those heading abroad for treatment, and many combine surgery with two weeks of sun-filled recuperation.

Closer to home, France, Belgium, Germany, where medical treatment is of a high standard, are also high on the list.

And though horror stories can often be found in the British media, the poll found that eight out of ten of those who sought foreign treatment via a UK firm that helps to arrange the surgery returned home satisfied.

One in ten claimed they had saved more than £10,000 by opting to go abroad.

Robert McCaffrey, director of the 50+ Show where interest from mature Brits was high, told the Daily Express: "It's certainly a growing area for us. People can opt for some of the best health facilities in the world, recuperate in the sun and still save money."

Would you consider surgery abroad? Leave your comments below...