Many countries in Europe wish to seek influx of medical tourist from UK. These countries are largely dependent on medical tourism for pumping up their economies by contributing to their gross domestic product. The internationalization of healthcare system in UK has provided freedom of movement for healthcare workers. This means that patients in the United Kingdom now have access to international healthcare in their private, local and NHS hospitals.
Internationalization has posed a challenge to the overseas service providers in retaining the healthcare staff, needed to deliver services to the international patients. Internationalization though has opened up avenues for the healthcare industry in the United Kingdom, but has also brought with itself some challenges that have to be tactfully handled.
Travelling for common procedures – Yes or No
Internationalization of the healthcare systems in the UK has tremendously leveled up the quality care and services at the local and NHS hospitals of UK. This has greatly reduced the waiting time for the patients to avail medical treatment. All these positives makes the UK patients think twice before travelling to other destinations to avail treatments for common or small medical ailments.
Most of the UK patients, will not consider travelling abroad for small treatments, which they can easily avail at home rather in the nearby locality. Most of the NHS hospitals in UK offer fixed rate surgeries that are all inclusive in nature. This includes pre operative assessments, post-op follow-ups, surgeon’s fees, and hospital charges etc. The easy availability of healthcare in the UK itself hits the other European medical destination a bit.
UK care team – Not so English
The international healthcare system of the United Kingdom makes the healthcare team look international in regards. The UK care team is now the amalgamation of nearly all cultures metaphorically. For Example, a healthcare team of a local NHS hospital of UK might look something like this:
- An Indian by origin, Surgeon
- A Siberian nurse
- A Portuguese cardiologist
- A physiotherapist from Poland, etc
The freedom of movement of healthcare professionals under the internationalization concept has made the healthcare system of the UK one of the most talked about and praised systems of the world.
Dependence on international staff
The data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre has revealed that 11% of the staff currently working in the NHS and community health care institutions in UK is not English. Nearly 26% of the doctors are not British. This has largely increased the dependence of healthcare system in UK over other nations, for provision of effecting and professional medical staff.
Largest provider of international doctors around the world is India. The highest numbers of qualified nurses and other health visiting staff fly from countries such as Nigeria, Poland, Pakistan, Spain, and Germany etc.
Challenge for other destinations
With the internationalization of the healthcare systems in the UK, other destinations have felt a threat in many regards. One of the major concerns is that countries that wish to become popular medical tourism destinations are losing their best of staff to countries like the UK. United Kingdom faces a pressure on staff and resources, owing to which they discourage the export of patients to other nations by importing staff and doctors for the self.
Thus, we can easily say that internationalization of the UK healthcare of UK though is an important step in improving the healthcare facilities in UK but it is indeed a matter of grave concern for the for other destinations that are either established medical tourism centers or wish to become one.
The internalization of the UK healthcare systems has increased the access of availing treatments in local and NHS hospitals, with the help of an international healthcare team clubbed together.