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4 Risks of Getting Medical Treatment While Abroad

With long NHS waiting lists and the exorbitant cost of private medical procedures, it can be extremely tempting to seek medical treatment while abroad.

While there are many cost advantages associated with receiving medical treatment in another country, there are also inherent risks attached. Here we offer a list of the 4 most oft-cited risks associated with getting medical treatment abroad.

1. Confusion and mistakes

The doctors, surgeons and staff in many of the top medical clinics abroad will most likely have an excellent grasp of English – but English is their second language. When it comes to explaining your symptoms, therefore, an effective medical diagnosis could be prevented due to confusion over seemingly minor details.

Undergoing treatment abroad also requires your service provider to contact your local GP to request details of your medical history. With GPs already overloaded with work, this puts extra strain on their time and opens up a wider margin for error. 

2. Incompetence

While overseas clinics may promise the highest levels of service at excellent prices, it is imperative to realise that medical standards vary greatly between countries.

Do not make the mistake of assuming that an overseas clinic will be as competent as they claim; you must do your own research to find out more about the quality of the services on offer.

Even if you diligently research the professional regulatory body in the country where you’re planning to undergo your medical treatment, the information is often difficult to attain and analyse.

3. Aftercare and air travel

Another risk of getting medical treatment abroad is not getting the correct aftercare.

Firstly, air travel immediately after surgery is ill-advised. It is imperative to discuss your travel arrangements with your surgeon prior to your operation as air travel and surgery both inherently increase the risk of developing deep-vein thrombosis or a pulmonary embolism.

In addition to the risks surrounding poorly timed air travel, you must also consider where you’re going to receive your aftercare. Effective aftercare may be available locally, but if not, return travel to the country where you originally had surgery may be required. These journeys could put unexpected financial burdens on you and your family, as well as undue stress on your body in its weakened state.

4. A lack of insurance cover

Very few travel insurers are likely to cover you if your trip includes a planned medical procedure. Whether complications emerge later as a result of the surgery or another incident on your trip, there could be severe financial and health-related consequences.

A genuine clinical negligence claim can be brought against the clinic that treated you, at a later date. However, this could be a long and drawn-out process, causing you much unnecessary physical and emotional pain. To avoid this, make sure you engage the services of the specialists from the start.

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