Health tourist leaving UK for medical treatment
Record numbers of Britons are flying abroad for medical treatment to escape NHS waiting lists and the rising threat of hospital superbugs.It appears there is a market in the UK that US health care providers need to learn to tap. Rationed health care is also effecting Canadians one in seven of which come to the US for treatment. And, it may not be the reason Cubans are risking their lives to leave the island, but it certainly is not enough to keep them there. If the Democrats get a hold of your health care, we may all have to book trips for treatments.
Thousands of "health tourists" are going as far as India, Malaysia and South Africa for major operations – such is their despair over the quality of health services.
The first survey of Britons opting for treatment overseas shows that fears of hospital infections and frustration with NHS waiting lists are fuelling the increasing trend.
More than 70,000 Britons will have treatment abroad this year – a figure that is forecast to rise to almost 200,000 by the end of the decade. Patients needing major heart surgery, hip operations and cataracts are using the internet to book operations to be carried out thousands of miles away.
India is the most popular destination for surgery, followed by Hungary, Turkey, Germany, Malaysia, Poland and Spain. But dozens more countries are attracting custom. Research by the Treatment Abroad website shows that Britons have travelled to 112 foreign hospitals, based in 48 countries, to find safe, affordable treatment.
Almost all of those who had received treatment abroad said they would do the same again, with patients pointing out that some hospitals in India had screening policies for the superbug MRSA that have yet to be introduced in this country.
• On Wednesday, figures are expected to show rising numbers of hospital infections. Cases of the superbug Clostridium difficile, which have risen five-fold in the past decade, are expected to increase beyond the 55,000 cases reported last year.
• On the same day, statistics will show that vast sums have been spent on pay, with GPs' earnings rising by more than 50 per cent in three years to an average of more than £110,000.
• New research shows that growing NHS bureaucracy has left nurses with little time to see patients – most spending long periods dealing with paperwork.