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Safety Considerations of Treatment Abroad

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 21 Jun 2010 | comments*Discuss
Safety Considerations Of Treatment Abroad

If you are considering some form of surgery abroad then taking responsibility for your own safety is of paramount importance. Many people doctors as well as ordinary members of the public, will tell of the horror stories they have heard on the safety aspects of treatment abroad, but can they all be true?

Over 55,000 people travel abroad from the UK each year for surgical treatments, and providing adequate research has been undertaken beforehand, the experience is usually a positive one. There are a number of boxes that should be checked before you decide to take treatment abroad, and safety is one of the most important considerations.

Adequate Research

Researching your clinic, hospital, surgeon, and country of choice should be the first thing you do when it comes to the safety aspects of treatment abroad. There is a huge amount of information available on surgery abroad, and it can sometimes be a bewildering task finding the correct information. Your first stop when researching your choices should be your own doctor.

Your own doctor should have a full understanding of your medical history and will be able to give the best information on your particular condition. He or she should already have some information to hand on medical treatments abroad; the state of the NHS has become so overloaded that many doctors are now referring patients for treatment abroad.

Medical Providers

Medical service providers may be the best option for you if you are concerned about the safety aspects of treatment abroad. The Internet is a good start when trying to find a reputable service provider. If you know of anyone who has had surgery abroad then ask who it was they went to for the surgery; word of mouth is a great help when researching service providers.

Many clinics abroad do not advertise their services; they operate solely through word of mouth or through medical service providers. The providers will have a few clinics that they continually use due to the professionalism of the surgeons and the standard of their facilities. It is in the provider’s best interests to build a good reputation, and the reputable ones do this by researching beforehand so the patient does not have to.


As with any type of surgery there is no set in stone guarantee on the outcome, but service providers should have their own guarantees set in place. Some of the best providers offer return flights, accommodation and surgical expenses at their own cost should a return visit be needed for up to a year after the initial surgery.

Questions to Ask

Whether you are using a medical service provider or planning your own route by having surgery while on holiday abroad, there are a few questions you should ask. These questions should include:-
  • Guarantees should anything go wrong after surgery
  • Success rates of the surgery for your particular clinic
  • Refund policy if you decide not to have the surgery once you have arrived in your country of choice
  • Accreditations and qualifications of your surgeon
  • A full break down of the surgery and the risks involved
  • Risks of infections and blood banking policy
  • Levels of aftercare
  • Levels of communication pre surgery
  • Are English speaking staff available?

Qualifications of Surgeons

One of the most important research topics regarding the safety aspects of treatment abroad will be the qualifications of the surgeon or doctor you are intending to use. Always fully check any qualifications, this means checking yourself, or by your provider that the qualifications are credible. Many surgeons working abroad will have qualified in the UK and they will be registered with the General Medical Council.

Plastic surgeons and dentists will be registered on the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons and with the General Dental Council respectively. There is an equivalent of these registers in the countries you are intending to use, and these should be checked and verified before any surgery is undertaken. It is of vital importance that you or your service provider takes responsibility in checking these qualifications are correct.

Other Checks

There are temptations just to take people at face value when they are offering much needed medical treatment at a very low cost. Always undertake your own research and do not take up an offer simply on the basis of low cost surgery. Make sure you do not accept any offer after only a few emails; many surgeons from abroad hold seminars in the UK, and it is wise to attend these seminars to gain more information on the services offered.

The safety aspects of treatment abroad do rest solely in your hands, or with a reputable service provider, should you choose to use one. If you have undertaken adequate research then your medical surgery abroad should end up as a positive experience.

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