Table of Contents

Handbook on Medical Tourism and Patient Mobility

Handbook on Medical Tourism and Patient Mobility

Edited by Neil Lunt, Daniel Horsfall and Johanna Hanefeld

The growth of international travel for purposes of medical treatment has been accompanied by increased academic research and analysis. This Handbook explores the emergence of medical travel and patient mobility and the implications for patients and health systems. Bringing together leading scholars and analysts from across the globe, this unprecedented Handbook examines the regional and national experiences of medical tourism, including coverage of the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. The chapters explore topics on issues of risk, law and ethics; and include treatment-focused discussions which highlight patient decision-making, patient experience and treatment outcomes for cosmetic, transplantation, dentil, fertility and bariatric treatment.

Chapter 23: Migration: the mobility of patients and health professionals

Margaret Walton-Roberts

Subjects: economics and finance, health policy and economics, politics and public policy, public policy, social policy and sociology, health policy and economics


Patients and healthcare workers engage in international mobility/migration as one means to overcome inequality in health services and professional opportunities. This chapter examines international migration in the context of health in terms of worker and patient mobility using four themes. First, the inverse care law is used to explain how access to health services and workers is shaped by the level of urban and economic development. Second, healthcare worker mobility and its nascent management at the global scale are explored. Third, medical tourism is considered as a form of increasing patient mobility. Fourth, international patient mobility and its management are addressed by considering the patient charters and international trade in health service agreements. A conclusion is then offered to highlight how the migration of patients and health workers are tendencies of globalizing healthcare systems marked by increased public-private marketization. The international mobility of workers cumulatively affects the ability of health systems to equitably and adequately deliver healthcare, and poses important challenges for those promoting health for all. The circulation of both of these human inputs must be understood as a central element of an increasingly global health services landscape.

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