Though there has been much focus on medical tourism in research and the wider media, research about child medical tourism remains limited; however, many of the reflections on global medical tourism and children travelling will be relevant to adults. Although the numbers of cases of children travelling abroad are difficult to quantify, medical tourism for children occurs for a wide variety of medical conditions and ailments. This includes: travelling to receive novel treatments such as stem cell or proton beam therapy for cancer; bariatric surgery (i.e. gastric banding); and families travelling abroad for investigations, diagnoses, opinions or a holistic/alternative approach to managing commonly seen clinical problems in the UK. Therefore, an understanding of which groups of children are travelling abroad (and for what reasons) is necessary to assess, understand and manage the full extent of this phenomenon. This chapter will focus primarily on the movement of children travelling abroad from the UK for healthcare interventions and the impact that this has on the National Health Service, but will develop concepts that are relevant to other healthcare systems. The concept of child medical tourism raises many issues. What benefits or risks does such tourism bring to the child, family and the NHS? How do healthcare professionals evaluate the quality and effectiveness of investigations and treatments initiated abroad? What impact do they have on the care and management provided to the child on return to the UK, and how confident are they in engaging with these children and their families?
Charlotte Hamlyn-Williams, Monica Lakhanpaul and Logan Manikam
Julian Edbrooke-Childs, Dawid Gondek, Isabelle Whelan, Jenna Jacob, Matt Barnard, Helen Gleeson, Makeda Gerressu, Monica Lakhanpaul, Caroletha Irish, Emma Cassells, Khyati Bakhai and Miranda Wolpert
Children’s and young people’s well-being is a central aspect in many welfare states. Chapter 21 by Edbrooke-Childs et al. explores the many and varied methodological issues related to the ability to analyse interventions and support for this population. Besides methodological reflections, there is a discussion of what has been learnt, and how this should be able to inform policy-makers on what to do in relation to policies.