Long Waits Drive Patients to France
The UK’s Evening Star newspaper is reporting that a new survey by a health vacation provider found that nearly 70,000 Britons will travel abroad for medical care this year (2007). Escaping long waits for procedures, people from the UK are traveling as far a field as the Philippines or as close as France to cut the cost of everything from total knee replacement surgery to laser teeth whitening. As more and more Britons take health vacations, the population becomes bettered educated about medical tourism and how this new phenomenon can save both time and money. The survey predicts that “200,000 health tourists will go abroad for major surgery” by 2010.
Health Vacations across the Channel
A popular destination for those seeking knee or hip surgery is just across the Channel. Paul Smith, a consultant at a health vacation provider, told the UK’s Telegraph newspaper that “people want to go to France because they are often in too much pain to wait the six months it takes to see a consultant and have surgery in Britain.” The newspaper notes that French surgeons “specialize in minimally invasive knee surgery that is not routinely available” in many hospitals in the UK. Saving money is another factor motivating Britons to travel. The cost of total knee replacement surgery in the UK can cost £12,500, while the price is £7,000 in France.
Dispelling Myths about Medical Tourism
Vicky Bingham, 64, of Sudbourne in the UK, told the Evening Star about her health vacation experience. She reports that she had planned to receive knee surgery in the UK, but was faced with an eight month wait and a price tag of £12-14,000. “I had to do something as I was in such pain I could hardly move,” she says. Bingham chose The Clinique Sainte Isabelle in Abbeville, northern France, for her procedure, and reports that it cost significantly less than what it would have been at home. For her, the experience dispelled any lingering myths about medical tourism and she will return soon for hip surgery. “Having been once already, I know the nursing care if perfect, the wards are clean and I’ll get a great service.”