“Consider carefully” risks of going abroad for medical treatment, warn GPs

NHS South Yorkshire's David CrichtonNHS South Yorkshire's David Crichton
NHS South Yorkshire's David Crichton
DOCTORS are urging people to “consider carefully” the risks before going abroad for medical treatments and procedures after GP practices reported a rise in patients requiring ongoing – sometimes specialist – care on their return.

Travelling abroad for treatment is becoming more common for treatments such as cosmetic and weight loss surgery, dental procedures, and fertility treatments.

But doctors across South Yorkshire are urging people to get as much information as possible about treatment options and especially follow-up to make an informed choice before embarking on medical treatment in another country.

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David Crichton, chief medical officer, NHS South Yorkshire, said: “Treatments abroad are becoming more popular as they are often seen as a cheaper, faster solution to the NHS or paying privately in the UK.

“Within GP practices, we are seeing a rise in patients requiring ongoing care from treatments abroad, some of which need specialist follow-up, not routinely available on the NHS.

“All types of medical treatment involve some element of risk and complications can occur regardless of where in the world you receive treatment.

However, the risk of complications increases considerably with travel, especially without adequate aftercare once back in the UK.”

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People planning treatment abroad are advised to discuss any planned procedures with their GP and/or specialist before making any final decisions, he added.

NHS England has issued guidance about going abroad for medical treatment as well as a checklist for patients to use before making a decision – both are available on its website – www.england.nhs.uk/.