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Turkey is a leading holiday destination for Britons. While the majority travel to explore one of its cities, or relax on the beach, an increasing number of tourists are visiting Turkey for medical treatment.
Britons who travel to Turkey for dental, cosmetic or medical procedures are known as “medical tourists”.
Popular procedures include liposuction, hair transplants and cosmetic dental treatments.
The UK Government has now updated its travel advice for Turkey and issued a warning for medical tourists.
The Government said: “The term ‘medical tourism’ refers to those tourists who have to chosen to have medical/surgical/dental treatment abroad.
“Cosmetic surgery, dental procedures and cardiac surgery are the most common procedures that medical tourists undertake.
“The standard of medical facilities and available treatments vary widely around the world.
“As such, British nationals considering undertaking medical treatment in Turkey should carry out their own research; it is unwise to rely upon private companies that have a financial interest in arranging your medical treatment abroad.
“We are aware of 22 British nationals who have died in Turkey since January 2019 following medical tourism visits.
“If you are travelling to Turkey to undertake a medical procedure we would advise you to refer to the HealthTurkiye portal website for medical providers who are approved by the Ministry of Health.”
Many people choose to travel to Turkey for cosmetic procedures because it is far cheaper there than in the UK.
India and Thailand are also popular destinations for medical tourism, although Britons will have to spend more on flights.
Some companies offer packages where treatments are combined with a beach holiday or city break which is seen as a warning sign by the NHS.
However, tourists need to be aware of the dangers of receiving treatment abroad, including a lack of aftercare.
In July, the BBC reported that hundreds of British dentists had treated patients facing serious complications after receiving treatment abroad.
Some foreign dental clinics will offer crowns or veneers to patients with healthy teeth and the invasive procedure can cause damage.
In some cases, UK dentists may not feel comfortable treating patients who had procedures abroad due to the risks.
Warning signs for medical tourists (NHS)
- Companies that offer the “hard sell” or sell packages that included a holiday as well as a treatment
- Being pressured into making a quick decision
- Not being able to speak directly with the healthcare provider and/or having a consultation before treatment
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