Medical tourism grows and puts strain on UK NHS

Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) will today announce regulations under which medical tourists may be denied medical attention should they not be able to provide proof of them qualifying.

Hundreds of migrants from around the world travel abroad for medical care and fertility treatment each year, and the numbers continue to increase. Patients across the African continent that face medical conditions that, for various reasons, such as lack of resources or specialists, are outsourced to developed countries.

As a result, countries that are able to provide highly skilled medical practitioners and medical equipment on par with the best in the world to their citizens such as the UK, are now treating incoming travellers seeking medical treatment.

Medical tourists were charged over £280 million in 2016 from the £150 to £200 surcharge charged to tourists and students.

Medical tourists are however increasingly putting strain on the countries such as the UK. Drastic measures are being proposed to curb the problem. Card machines will possibly be made available to medical staff to collect upfront payment from migrants seeing non-urgent treatment in an effort to alleviate the strain on the NHS.

The new steps will commence in April 2017, and will apply to any non-urgent medical treatment required. Regulations are also said to be announced to define under which criteria migrant patients may be denied medical attention should they not be eligible.

Concerns have however, been raised regarding the proposal, with critics citing how the plan may result in the system’s administration being strained. There is also a risk that UK citizens that could not show proof of their citizenship may also be denied treatment.

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