There is now a serious rise in medical tourism which can be broadly defined as the provision of cost-effective private medical care in collaboration with the tourism industry. The attractions of being able to have an operation or nose job, spa visit, holistic healing or yoga combined with a sunshine holiday without having to wait in the National Health Service queue is proving a growth industry.

The World Medical Tourism market is estimated at over £10 billion and it is growing at over 35 per cent a year and now around half a million UK medical tourists go abroad each year and coming back in better condition. It is a fact that medical costs can be halved in continental Europe and halved again in Thailand.

India and Thailand are popular destinations, with Singapore probably in third spot, but it is Thailand which is now making the running. Thailand sees the United Kingdom as an important market for tourism and medical holidays and with its modern hospitals and well-qualified doctors it believes it can make considerable inroads into this market.

Hospitals in places such as Thailand provide first-class care at costs lower than those in UK private hospitals and are often offer a higher quality and the after-care nursing services can be offered at very low cost. These hospitals have no waiting lists and have high levels of cleanliness. And a holiday and recuperating in pleasant surroundings are all part of the package which more and more British people are looking for.

The reputations of hospitals in places like Thailand for their skills and services are at a high level and what the market offers and is able to provide will become more sophisticated and tailored to people’s needs. Any inhibitions there might have been in years gone by about medical treatment abroad have now disappeared with over 205,000 health and wellness holidays, including fitness, mental and physical relaxation, medical treatments, beauty treatments, spa visits, mineral and thermal baths, health farms and surgical recuperation, being taken last year.

Research shows that 1 in 10 British adults would consider having surgery or an operation abroad because it is cheaper and a quarter would be interested in recuperating in a hotel after an illness or operation.

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