Getting an MRI Scan Abroad
As with other medical treatments abroad, getting an MRI scan abroad can save a great deal of time and money. Waiting times on the NHS for diagnostic imaging treatments can be as much as 18 months. For patients in the UK with serious medical problems this long waiting time is one of the reasons many are travelling abroad for MRI scans.
What is an MRI Scan?An MRI scan, or magnetic resonance imaging scan, is a common procedure used to produce very detailed images of various parts of the body. MRI scans can give images of much greater detail than X-rays and can help surgeons find abnormalities such as tumours in the body. Magnetic resonance imaging uses a scanner to emit radio waves and a magnetic field to achieve these detailed images, and the scan will usually take around 30 minutes to complete. Common problems that can be diagnosed using an MRI scanner will include joint injuries, slipped discs, heart problems and cancer.
Why Go Abroad for an MRI Scan?Waiting times on the NHS for MRI scans in the UK have increased significantly. This means that patients have to contend with pain for a longer amount of time until a diagnosis can be made. Private MRI scans have also become prohibitive in price for some patients, and this factor, coupled with the long waiting times are the main reasons patients are travelling abroad. In some clinics abroad the corrective surgery needed can also be undertaken on the same day as the MRI scan.
Low Cost MRI Scans AbroadAn MRI scan abroad can be as much as 50% less than the price of the same procedure in the UK. In the UK costs will range from £200 per body part, for example the knee or the elbow. A heart scan can cost around £400 and a virtual colonoscopy can be as much as £550. You will still pay less by having treatment abroad, and that is including the flights and accommodation. One of the big bonuses with treatment abroad is that the treatment is immediate and you can have the diagnosis on the same day you arrive in the country.
Countries for MRI ScansCountries nearer to the UK will mean cheaper flights and less travelling time. This should be an important factor to consider, especially for patients with painful medical conditions. Countries with short flying times from the UK will include Spain, Belgium, Germany, Norway, Poland and France. Private clinics are usually located in the larger cities abroad with regular, low cost flights direct from the UK.
Medical Service ProvidersOne of best ways to arrange medical treatment abroad is through a medical service provider. Medical service providers will be able to give information on the treatments available in a range of countries. They will be able to arrange flights and accommodation and have a representative meet you at the airport abroad if required. Medical providers should also be able to arrange consultations with surgeons abroad before you actually leave the UK. Researching medical providers on the internet should give you some idea of the services they provide and you can ask your own GP for recommendations.
Medical Clinics AbroadOther contributing factors to patients flying abroad for medical treatments are staff professionalism and the high levels of hygiene in the clinics abroad. Clinics in countries such as France, Belgium, Germany and Norway have shown almost zero patient infection rates compared with the high levels of infection cases in the UK. Many of the doctors and radiographers in clinics abroad have been trained in the UK before setting up medical practices abroad. Medical providers will be able to give a list of the qualifications and licences held by doctors and surgeons in the clinics abroad.
If you are considering travelling abroad for an MRI scan then always undertake your own research. Contact two or three medical service providers before making your ultimate choice, and consult with your own doctor to talk about your best options. Your doctor should also be able to send your medical history to your clinic abroad to speed up any pre-treatment tests. Never proceed with any treatment abroad unless you feel comfortable with your medical provider and your intended clinic.