Navigation Links
Researchers warn of the 'myths' of global medical tourism
Date:11/4/2013

A team of British researchers, led by the University of York, is warning governments and healthcare decision makers across the globe to be wary of the myths and hype surrounding medical tourism.

In an article, to be published in the journal Policy & Politics by Policy Press, the researchers challenge the idea that ever greater numbers of patients are prepared to travel across national borders to receive medical treatment.

'Medical tourism' is where people leave their own country to seek medical treatment abroad. They are typically treated as private patients and the costs are fully recouped. This is distinct from 'health tourism' where there is not always an intention to pay.

In the article, the authors, who include academics from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Royal Holloway University, and the University of Birmingham, looked beyond the NHS and the UK to address the wider international issues of medical tourism, examining how other countries are addressing this global phenomenon.

They describe 'three myths' of medical tourism: the rise and rise of medical tourism; enormous global market opportunities; and that national governments have a role to play in stimulating the medical tourism sector through high-tech investment.

The researchers say these three widely-held assumptions cannot be backed up with hard evidence but are encouraged by interested parties such as healthcare providers, and brokers and facilitators who act as intermediaries between providers and patients.

Lead author Dr Neil Lunt, from the University of York's Department of Social Policy and Social Work, said: "In the past decade or so, the global health policy literature and consultancy reports have been awash with speculations about patient mobility, with an emphasis on how ever greater numbers of patients are travelling across national jurisdictions to receive medical treatments.

"Yet authoritative data on numbers and flows of medical tourists between nations and continents is tremendously difficult to identify. What data does exist is generally provided by stakeholders with a vested interest rather than by independent research institutions. What is clear is that there exists no credible authoritative data at the global level, which is why we are urging caution to governments and other decision-makers who see medical tourism as a lucrative source of additional revenue.

"Our message is: be wary of being dazzled by the lure of global health markets, and of chasing markets that do not exist." The paper was informed by a research project funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Services and Delivery Research (NIHR HS&DR) Programme. It uses the findings from a two-year study into the impact of medical tourism on the UK's health system to make broader observations which the researchers believe apply to medical tourism globally.

The report authors argue that in terms of medical tourism, a level playing field does not necessarily exist and they challenge the view of open and global markets. Networks, history and relationships, they say, may explain a great deal about the success of particular destinations.

Dr Daniel Horsfall, from York's Department of Social Policy and Social Work, who carried out the statistical analysis for the study, said: "We found that historical flows between different countries and cultural relations account for a great deal of the trade. The destinations of medical tourists are typically based on geo-political factors, such as colonialism and existing trade patterns. For example, you find that medical tourists from the Middle East typically go to Germany and the UK due to existing ties, while Hungary attracts medical tourists from Western Europe owing to its proximity."

The team of researchers has already published an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report on their findings, while Dr Lunt has delivered their message of caution to the World Health Organisation and the Portuguese and Ukraine Governments. On 6 November, Dr Lunt will be a speaker at a professional networking event organised by the magazine Scientific American which will address trends in medical tourism.


'/>"/>

Contact: Caron Lett
caron.lett@york.ac.uk
44-019-043-22029
University of York
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Canadian researchers discover how to measure quality of life for rare blood condition
2. Kessler researchers find aerobic exercise benefits memory in persons with multiple sclerosis
3. Voices Against Brain Cancer Commends Researchers for the Identification of an Important Protein that May Give Insight to More Effective Glioblastoma Treatments
4. Increasing rate of knee replacements linked to obesity among young, researchers say
5. UTSA researchers develop prototype football kicking simulator
6. CWRU researchers aim nanotechnology at micrometastases
7. Risk of osteoporosis drugs side effects not significant, Loyola researchers find
8. New look at old test may provide earlier detection of meningitis, MU researchers find
9. MUHC researchers identify biomarkers that could leadto early diagnosis of colorectal cancer
10. Unpublished trial data violates an ethical obligation to study participants, say researchers
11. Einstein researchers lead panels at NIH Aging and Chronic Disease Symposium on Geroscience
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/2/2016)... , ... December 02, 2016 , ... ... of "Cardiovascular Health" in USA Today, which covers the innovative treatments, therapeutic technologies, ... while maintaining fulfilling lives. “We are prolonging life 6 years in the last ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... NJ (PRWEB) , ... December 02, 2016 , ... Sourced ... Water has some unique properties including its unmatched natural purity of just 6 ppm ... clean and crisp. , Nothing Water has been available in several ShopRite and FoodTown ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) , ... December 02, ... ... in digitally-enabled care journeys, announced today that it has raised $6.0 million in ... are inspired by Clarify Health’s conviction that patients and their caregivers can receive ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... 2016 , ... ‘Tis the season for giving! Today, 20 creative teams across ... Partnership and the Drug Enforcement Administration as part of the National Red Ribbon Week ... schools who decorated their campuses with this year’s Red Ribbon Week theme: “YOLO. Be ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... ... November 30, 2016 , ... Standard Process, ... an annual ranking and recognition of the largest closely held companies headquartered in ... from 2008-2016. In addition, Standard Process was awarded the Talent Award for providing ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2016)... Dec. 2, 2016 Quantum Radiology,s Mobile Breast ... radiologist interpretation directly to women at the workplace, thereby ... such as Delta Air Lines and SunTrust Bank, and ... a component of wellness initiatives. "I think ... It enables them to have a mammogram without taking ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... , Dec. 2, 2016  Eli Lilly and Company ... guidance for 2017 and provide updated financial guidance for ... conduct a conference call on that day with the ... financial guidance. The conference call will begin ... public can access a live webcast of the conference ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... , December 2, 2016 Orthopedic ... & Support) is Expected to Gain a Significant Market Share ... Orthopedic Ailments  ... , According to a ... on Medical Implants Sterile Packaging: Clamshell Product Type Segment Projected ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: