Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cosmetic surgery abroad under fire in the UK press

The growth of medical tourism is attracting more and more attention to issues such as quality of treatment, accreditation of surgeons and dentists, hospitals and clinics.

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons this week launched an attack on “botched cosmetic work” carried out by surgeons overseas, based on a “study” of 36 UK plastic surgeons who reported having to correct surgery carried out abroad. The “study” resulted in headlines such as these:

Recently, dental tourism was also criticised, by the British Dental Health Foundation, resulting in headlines such as this:

Now....you have to bear in mind the motives of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons and other professional associations in publicising such issues. They and their PR agencies represent the interests of UK surgeons, dentists and medical professionals. It's bad for business if people start travelling for treatment!

Let's take the "dodgy dentist story". The British Dental Health Foundation reported there has been "a significant increase in calls to its helpline from people who have had bad experiences of dental tourism". In fact, they receive around 40 calls per month about medical tourism out of 3,500 calls in total. Of the 40 calls, 5 are from patients reporting problems or who are unhappy with their treatment. And given the growth of medical tourism, you might expect an increase....

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons story is based on a study of 36 members.

"Half the surgeons who took part in a survey have seen at least “a little more” repair work than last year, while a third have seen “much more” repair work as increasing numbers of Britons opt for cheap surgery abroad"

Given that the number of UK cosmetic surgery procedures rose by 40% last year and medical tourism based cosmetic surgery probably rose by around 100%, you might expect there to be more problems seen?

At Treatment Abroad, we are pursuing several initiatives to counter such criticisms and promote the concept of medical tourism. Our current survey of medical tourist experiences of treatment abroad is one of these initiatives.

Another initiative is the development of a “Code of Practice for Medical Tourism”. You can find out more about what we are trying to achieve on the Code of Practice page on Treatment Abroad.


Daniel Shaw said...

I've been developing dental treatament abroad in Slovakia for the past 2 years now, and have only seen good results, perhaps even better results with patients choosing Slovakia over the Uk or other EU counties.
Any patient whethere at home or abroad must bear in mind that there will always be a minimal risk, but if they check out the doctors and the clinic beforehand, I believe that that risk can be minimised.


The Patients Advantage said...

This is a great blog. Thank you for putting this forum together. I have been reading blogs like this for awhile and for the most part people have had positive experiences with their elective procedures. That is great to see. I would be interested to know what your cirteris would be - or has been - in a search for a elective surgeon or provider. That could be the most difficult part of the process - finding a good surgeon for your specific situation. I am the VP of Operations at The Patients Advantage. I am not interested in selling what we do on these blogs. What we do is at no cost to patients. I am interested in feedback from people who have already gone through the search process and or taken the process all the way and had an elective procedure done. We have been in business since 2004 and feedback from people like yourself is vital to develop the tools to keep patients better informed on who the best surgeons or providers are and the research tools about the procedures of interest. Subsequently surgeons and providers will benefit by having more informed patients. Please reply to this post on what is important to you…or email me directly from here or through our site www.thepatientsadvantage.com.

Keith Pollard said...

>>>I would be interested to know what your criteria would be - or has been - in a search for a elective surgeon or provider.

I think most people want to know about outcome data/success rates/patient satisfaction with the surgery.

But that's the kind of information that few surgeons publish, and it's difficult to compare one with another if they are treating patients of different types. i.e if the best surgeons take on the most difficult cases, then their outcome data may appear, at first sight, to be worse than others.

Anonymous said...

It's almost universally accepted to use a medical tourism company to avoid the kinds of problems this blog talks about.

We have been asked directly how we evaluate our Indian doctor & hospital providers and their "5 Star facilities."

That's a good question.

Firstly, we live here 24/7/365. We know the stereotype thoughts of our
fellow Americans concerning India. Certainly, some of those images are
true, but they are unrealistic generalizations.

We see these hospitals and clinics first hand. We visit our own clients
in these hospitals and we ask them for their evaluations. However, in
addition to that, there are JCI, Harvard Medical International, NIAHO,
Cleveland Clinic Accreditations, etc., which these institutions enjoy.

Patients are usually awake when they reach the operation room, and what they see gives them all the confidence we have built in them. They are thoroughly professional, STERILE and modern theatres.

Those accreditations are not easy to get. Not easy at all, and many in
the United States can't qualify for them either.

Indian hospitals are also not fighting the Staphylococcus aureus western hospitals are laden down with.

Additionally, we have people in America you can call and talk to as eye witnesses from their own hospital stays here in India.

Don Wood, Director
AMS (America's Medical Solutions)

glasgow cosmetic dentist said...

Cosmetic surgery abroad are quite cheap, fast, advanced and latest and so promoting medical tourism.

Cosmetic Surgery Clinic said...

There is obvious demand for this. Why not cut the cost of your plastic surgery by at least half and have a holiday in an exotic location at the same time. Most patients ideally want the best plastic surgeons and the best after care. In the UK there are many bodies and assoications that cover this, such as BAAPS and BAPRAS and the fact remains that many cosmetic procedures abroad do not have this level of assurance.