Handbook on Medical Tourism and Patient Mobility
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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.
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Chapter 5: Patients’ willingness to travel

Mark Exworthy and Stephen Peckham

Abstract

Many health systems are implementing policies to encourage patient ‘choice’ as part of strategies for personalization of services and greater competition and market-based approaches. These are justified on the basis that patients themselves are increasingly able and willing to travel further for health-care services, including to other countries. Some have seen such patient travel as the lucrative growth of a new market. With several years’ experience of choice, competition policies and patient travel, it is timely to reassess the assumptions underlying these developments. In this chapter, we appraise the socio-economic and policy context which has spawned the apparent growth of patient travel and review the extant evidence of patients’ willingness to travel (WTT) as it relates to the UK health-care system. We draw conclusions about the consequences (intended and otherwise) of this policy direction for patients, providers, regulators and payers.

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