When Medical Tourism Is About Life And Death

When Medical Tourism Is About Life And Death

A Government website has revealed that 17 people have died after medical treatment in Turkey.

‘Medical Tourism’ is no stranger to the news columns of GDPUK.  We have published several stories about it over recent years and, as Covid restrictions are lifted and the skies are once again open to cheap travel, the temptation to seek medical and dental treatment abroad for a fraction of the UK cost will prove increasingly tempting to cash rich and strapped patients alike.

Whilst a low price may prove tempting, however, patients should be cautious.

The UK government’s website warns patients looking for treatment in Turkey ‘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 17 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, you should ensure that your chosen medical facility is accredited with the Turkish authorities. You can find a list of those facilities that have accreditation on the Health Services General Directorate website.

Poland, Croatia and Turkey are just three countries British patients visit for procedures like implants and veneers, often undergoing for a few hundred pounds courses of treatment that would cost thousands at a UK based dentist. Unlike in the UK, dentists in these countries are not saddled with so many regulatory expenses, property is much cheaper, and wages are lower. 

When GDPUK did an internet search of prices in Turkey in 2021 it found a practice where extractions were £20, root fillings £100 and white fillings £40. The clinic would cover travel and accommodation costs for patients spending over £2750 and charged just £170 for Zirconium crowns and veneers while implants started at £300. ( Based on these prices £2750 would cover a complete mouth rebuild!)

As reported by Chris Tapper of GDPUK on March 15th 2021, over 100,000 foreigners visited Turkey in 2020 for dental treatment, ‘and many UK dentists have anecdotal stories of patients travelling abroad for treatment because of Turkey’s perceived low prices and then requiring follow-up treatment when problems occur.’

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