It may seem at first that Medical Tourism is doing the world a favour by clearing the backlogged waiting lists for certain procedures without having to expand the local capacity that is in demand. (1). It is also proposed by supporters of Medical tourism that by bringing tourists into the country, not only the health sector, but other sectors, like the tourism and hospitality sectors will also benefit and through this flow on effect the people of the host country will benefit. For example India's health care market is expected to expand from 5.2%GDP to 8.5% GDP by the end of 2012 because of Medical tourism. (2) This is taking a superficial look at the problem. It also effects on the health care of people of the host country, the standard of care received by the patient and effects on the workforce itself. While countries like India, Thailand and Singapore may seem to benefit overall, it has been argued that the extra funding the health care system is receiving from medical tourism does not get diverted to help the public health sector -with levels of public spending on healthcare in India are amongst the lowest in the world (3). The local people should receive some of this profit that the health industry itself is receiving as many are unable to afford comparative health care. There is also the question of the effect on the workforce. There are fears that medical tourism could worsen the drain of local professionals by luring them from the public sector and rural areas to take jobs in urban centres. (2) The medical tourism facilities offer not only a better rate of pay, but also access to good equipment, resources and medications. Finally there is the cost on the individual receiving the care. Presently, there are a lack of comparative quality and safety data including infection rates for overseas institutions. There is also little information about adverse events as reporting of these events is also lacking. Many of the practitioners in...
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