Some 40% of Britons go abroad for surgery to beat NHS waiting lists, survey results have found.
The study revealed only one in ten of those travelling abroad for treatment, known within the health industry as "medical tourists", did so for cosmetic surgery.
The other 90% ventured abroad to receive medical help for eye complaints, work, blood dialysis, orthopaedics, addiction and cancer therapy. YourSurgeryAbraod.com in partnership with the International Medical Travel Association questioned 7 000 for the survey.
The study also that because of the recession 40% of respondents are more likely to consider having cheaper medical treatment abroad compared with a year ago.
What the study revealed
"Seventy one percent of Britons in our survey are using the internet to research their international medical treatment options, funding what is now a multi million pound industry," said Adam Nethersole, managing director of YourSurgeryAbroad.com.
Figures showed that if travelling abroad was not an option, 22% would rather postpone an operation that had a long waiting time.
The sample found that close to 80% of people were unaware that, because of a European Union Directive on cross-border healthcare, patients could be treated in an EU country and have it paid for by the NHS. – (Reuters Health, August 2009)