Anyone planning on travelling to Turkey soon has been advised to take note of a fresh update from the Foreign Office.
Following an explosion in Ankara on October 1, government officials have removed the safety guidance surrounding the incident, as well as the heatwaves and wildfires that swept across the country during the summer.
Now, warnings about medical visits have been updated amid serious concerns over deaths and surgical complications stemming from people travelling to Turkey for cheaper procedures.
The Foreign Office said it was known that 25 people are known to have died there in the last four years.
In an update, the government also explained the risk of catching potentially fatal botulism poisoning, after an outbreak of 71 cases in people undergoing weight loss treatment.
The statement said: “The standard of medical facilities and available treatments can vary widely globally. We are aware of over 25 British nationals who have died in Turkey since January 2019 following medical procedures. There were reports of an outbreak of botulism linked to weight loss treatments performed in Istanbul and Izmir in February 2023.”
The new advice links to the website Travel Health Pro, which says: “United Kingdom (UK) residents travelling abroad for medical treatment, elective (planned) surgery and dental procedures may be at increased risk of complications, including exposure to blood-borne viruses. They may also be unaware of the potential health and financial consequences they could face.
“Travelling overseas for treatment is becoming more common amongst UK residents. The Office for National Statistics estimated that approximately 248,000 UK residents travelled abroad for medical treatment during 2019. This is an increase from 2018 when 151,609 UK residents travelled abroad for treatment..”
The advice from experts is to not go abroad for medical treatments.
The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons said it: “Consistently advises against travelling abroad for any kind of surgery, not just cosmetic. They counsel that all surgical procedures carry risks, even when performed by a reputable surgeon in the UK. They also state that the possibility of complications increases considerably with travel, which limits the availability of aftercare.
“UK dentists have reported concerns about the quality of commercial dental treatment carried out in some countries and the lack of continuity of care. The British Dental Association strongly advise anyone considering treatment abroad to check a dentist’s qualifications and experience and whether they are insured if things go wrong.”
Certain medical treatments are unavailable on the NHS, which is why many people choose to travel to Turkey to have them done, as it’s much cheaper than paying privately in the UK.
But according to the Foreign Office, medical tourism – which is when people travel to have medical, surgical or dental treatment abroad – is not without its risks.
And the new alert said the number of deaths believed to have happened in the last four years has now been revised upwards. The Turkish Ministry of Health provides a list of its approved medical providers on the HealthTurkiye website.
Source : DailyRecord