Turkey travel warning for Brits seeking cheaper cosmetic surgery abroad after 17 deaths

The government is warning against travelling abroad for breast implants, liposuction and other cosmetic procedures following the deaths of 17 British since 2019. Turkey has become a major medical tourism destination with thousands of travellers undergoing dental work and cosmetic surgery each year.

Medical tourists make the journey to places such as Turkey, Thailand or India to save money on cosmetic treatments which would otherwise be more expensive in the UK. Health tourism is a booming business which continues to grow as self-conscious Brits pack their bags to travel abroad in the hope of saving money on treatments.

Popular surgical procedures include liposuction, breast implants, rhinoplasty and dental work. Turkey attracts a large number of Brits looking for dental veneers, hair transplants and BBL (Brazilian butt lift) surgery.

Read more: Yorkshire hospitals where patients are waiting years for appointments

As reported by Express, the UK Government has issued a warning and updated advice around medical tourism after the deaths of 17 Brits who travelled to the country to undergo medical procedures. The Foreign Commonwealth Office says: “The standard of medical facilities and available treatment vary widely around the world.

“As such, British nationals considering undertaking medical treatment in Turkey should carry out their own research. It is unwise to rely upon private companies that have a financial interest in arranging your medical treatment abroad.

“We are aware of 17 British nationals who have died in Turkey since January 2019 following medical tourism visits. If you are travelling to Turkey to undertake a medical procedure, you should ensure that your chosen medical facility is accredited with the Turkish authorities.

“You can find a list of those facilities that have accreditation on the Health Services General Directorate website.”

Medical services provided by Turkey are generally cheaper by up to 70 percent in comparison to those offered in the UK. Whilst there are some very good medical services providers in Turkey, the quality of medical facilities can vary greatly. Brits are being advised by the government to avoid being potentially misled by carrying out due diligence and research before they travel.

Checking that a clinic is registered with the Turkish authorities and understanding what levels of aftercare are available for the treatment in question, are key steps to protecting your health. Seeking reviews and testimonials of your chosen clinic will also help build a picture of the provider in question.

In the UK patients face lengthy wait times in the UK for popular treatments such as hair transplants and breast implants, and large costs if they go private. The wait time is massively reduced to just a few weeks in Turkey.

Not only is it quicker to be seen in Turkey, cheaper accommodation and flights abroad mean Brits could save even more money than just on the medical procedure itself.

Advice issued from the National Travel Health Network and Centre says: “Individuals considering travelling for treatment should discuss their plans carefully with their UK doctor, dentist or hospital specialist before committing to any procedure abroad. Travellers should speak directly to the health professional undertaking the planned treatment before travel and check their qualifications and references independently.

“Medical advice from a travel agent or administrator is unacceptable. Appropriate travel medical insurance is essential.”

Travelling abroad for surgery is not recommended by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. This is due to the increased risk of complications arising and availability of aftercare abroad.