Chapter 1: The shaping of contemporary medical tourism and patient mobility
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Travel for health benefits pre-dates the rise of modern medicine and existence of passports, harking back to porous borders and less institutionalized medicine. Alongside change in travel technology, scientific and surgical developments encouraged growing patient mobility during the twentieth century. In recent decades wealthy people from less developed areas of the world travelled to developed nations to access better facilities and highly trained clinicians, drawn by innovation and reputation. In what is predominantly a private sector there has been dramatic commodification of health and medical treatments. This chapter traces the shaping of contemporary medical tourism, including the strategic role of governments in supporting and promoting national interests, and demands for regulation.