The practicalities of going abroad for treatment
Going abroad for medical treatment will help you jump the waiting list as well as save a significant sum on the cost of private medical treatment. However, you will have to work a little for these benefits in dealing with the practicalities of medical tourism.
Finding and booking
The first issue will be finding and booking your treatment. If you are looking for treatment in your home country, you can call the different clinics to talk to them, and even visit in person to make sure that they meet your standards. This is rarely possible with a clinic in another country.
That said, with medical tourism such a competitive and lucrative market, many of the better clinics have excellent customer service teams, with high quality websites for you to view the clinic and English speaking staff who can answer any questions. If you are not confident with finding the right clinic overseas, there are a number of agents and organisations that can arrange everything on your behalf.
Do I need a referral from my GP
Whether you need a GP referral or not depends on where you are travelling to and what procedure you are having. In most cases of cosmetic surgery or dental work a GP referral is not required. However for medical based treatments you are strongly advised to involve your GP. They will know what treatment you need, they can share your medical history with the clinic concerned and they will be able to monitor your recovery once you return home.
Good communications is important
Of course, some of the biggest practicalities of travelling to a foreign country are the cultural differences and language barriers. This can leave you feeling very disconcerted and make your treatment feel much more complicated than it needs to be.
Many major medical tourism destinations have made allowances for this by creating international standard facilities that are familiar to all, just like a high quality international hotel chain. However it is still important to make sure there are English speaking staff, or at least an interpreter to help you out.
Do I take someone with me?
Taking someone with you may seem like an unnecessary expense, but it is highly recommended. A partner or companion will not only be able to offer moral support along the way, they will also be able to act on your behalf if anything goes wrong and you are unable to make important decisions for yourself.
Remember, you will not get any visits from friends and relatives if you have treatment overseas, so going on your own could leave you feeling very lonely and isolated when you are at your most vulnerable.
Will my travel insurance cover me?
It is important to note that standard travel insurance will not cover you for any complications that result from medical treatment abroad. It is also unlikely that your home country private medical insurance will cover the cost of treatment, unless it is an emergency. If you are travelling abroad specifically for the purpose of medical treatment, then you need to get specialist medical travel insurance cover tailored for the purpose.