Protecting Patient Safety
The lure of overseas treatment is often based on price. However, medical tourism raises some safety and financial concerns for Australian patients.
These factors should be considered before committing to overseas medical treatment:
- Is the overseas surgeon appropriately qualified, experienced and accredited with the relevant regulatory bodies?
- Does the hospital/day clinic meet appropriate international standards for infection control, sterilisation of equipment and drug integrity?
- Does the patient understand the options, procedure, risks and recovery information? In particular, do they understand the risks of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) when travelling on long-haul flights following surgery? Have they taken this into account when planning their post-operative length of stay?
- Are all of the patient’s costs covered in any package offered?
- What happens if something goes wrong as a result of the surgery overseas? Does the patient have sufficient medical travel insurance in addition to the standard travel insurance, which may exclude travel for medical procedures?
- Is the patient aware of the potential complications of pursuing legal action in a foreign jurisdiction?
- Once they have returned to Australia, what is the patient’s plan for follow-up care if required?