Despite Canada’s “free” health care services, Canadians are opting to pay for faster services abroad rather than waiting for free health care.
As a result, “medical tourism” has become more and more popular without our country but begs the question, “Is this safe?” Experts are saying the long-term risks could be greater than the short-term benefits.
From a recent CTV News report, wait times for knee and hip replacement surgeries are more than five months out. And that’s once you’ve actually seen your specialist who sets your surgery appointment.
A study conducted by the Fraser Institute found more than 50,000 people sought treatment outside Canada in 2014 alone. This is an increase of 26% over 2013 medical tourists. The same report noted that there were also high numbers of complications from those patients who went outside Canada for treatment. One such complication includes exposure to antibiotic-resistant organisms (which then make their way into Canada).
It’s important for Canadians to understand the consequences of going abroad. Although the treatment might happen faster, there are still risks associated with surgeries and medical care. It’s important to understand the risks before, during as well as after surgery before deciding.