There is much debate on the pros and cons of medical tourism and the effects it has on both the host country and the home country that people travel from.
The advantages for the most part, are the lower cost of procedures which patients would be unlikely to afford in their home countries. The other benefits for patients include the excitement of traveling to and experiencing another country and culture.
In many cases, combining medical procedures with a holiday is beneficial. However, this may depend on the type of procedure that you are having done since more complex medical procedures such as surgeries are likely to take longer to recover from, which thus limits your ability to go sightseeing.
Benefits of medical tourism for the host country
There are numerous beneficial effects of medical tourism for the destination or host countries. The influx of many more patients means more work and therefore higher profits for the medical community within the country. It also gives the medical professionals more global exposure and experience in the procedures that they perform.
This can mean that a clinic with many medical tourists can get many positive reviews and recommendations which in turn can generate more customers in the future.
The advantage for the destination country is that the medical tourists will also spend money locally on food, souvenirs, transportation, and accommodation. This in turn all leads to a positive impact on the local economy and the country’s economy in general. It is also possible that the medical tourists will return to the country for a vacation at a later date.
Drawbacks of medical tourism for home countries and host countries
Medical tourism takes away customers that would normally use services in their home country. This means that locally, practices in the home country of the person may suffer because they lose out on business. This may not be a big drawback since often there are enough people who can afford and do use local clinics, that the cost is not that significant.
The medical tourism industry is not always well-regulated, which can put people at risk of an adverse event or even death if they are not careful to choose a reputable clinic for their procedure.
Destination countries may also have problems accommodating massive numbers of people wanting to enter to have medical work done. However, many countries, such as Turkey, have risen to the occasion and are able to cope with large numbers of medical tourists. The other issue is problems with language barrier or cultural differences. This is where clinics involved in medical tourism need to play a role in helping foreign patients who enter the country for cosmetic procedures.
IN CONCLUSION –
Medical tourism can be very beneficial for many countries provided that they are prepared and have clinics that offer high quality care. Destination countries can do much to facilitate a better and safer experience for their patients, especially in countries where there have been horror stories of botched procedures and patient deaths.