Should Your Patients Opt For Rehabilitation Abroad?

Updated on October 16, 2018

You’ve operated on a patient and prescribed them the appropriate treatment, yet their ailment shows no sign of improving. Perhaps it’s the anti-biotics; maybe the human body is no longer capable of recuperating, or maybe just maybe, it’s the British health care system which is failing them. With more and more Brits seeking treatment in foreign countries than ever before, we’ve taken a closer look at the subject, posing the question whether patients should opt for rehabilitation abroad.

The Planning

Every British person that travels abroad to Europe has to renew e111, their Euro Health Insurance Card (EHIC), to prove that they are citizens of a European country when they do eventually seek medical treatment.

Patients should have thoroughly researched the programme they intend on enlisting for. They will also need to find out as much as possible about the respective country’s health service, considering obstacles like the language barrier, whether the country has a good line of communication to the NHS and how to seek damages if something were to go wrong.

The Funding

There are a variety of funding avenues that your patients can go down, but the two main ones which the NHS suggests, are the S2 treatment and the EU Directive route.

  • S2 Treatment

The S2 treatment funding option requires a full clinical assessment written by a physician stating why the patient requires the rehabilitation, as well as providing a time scale for how long recovery might take.

Other requirements include that the requested rehabilitation treatment is available under the foreign state’s healthcare system, that the rehabilitation treatment is not experimental nor is it an emergency treatment, only then will the NHS fund the prospective treatment.

  • EU Directive Route

The alternative option is the EU Directive route, which is less rigorous in its requirements, due to the fact it’s a funding agreement between the National Health Service and the patient who requires the rehabilitation. This means that the patient will have to pay for their rehabilitation scheme upfront in the foreign country for the duration of their stay, before claiming back the expenses from the NHS when they do eventually arrive back to the UK.

The Reason

So why should patients consider opting for rehabilitation abroad? Well unfortunately due to the current state of our national health service.

Two years ago, NHS waiting times reached the highest they’ve been for a decade, with over 400,000 patients having to wait for more than 18 weeks for treatment, being an approximate 30,000 increase, from 2014.

Therefore, with the NHS letting so many people down, the prospect of going abroad is becoming a very real reality for some, with figures from the Office for National Statistics showing a 198% rise in Brits travelling abroad for medical reasons, during that same two year time period.

So, with the British NHS in so much disrepute, are you willing to risk your patient’s condition becoming worse by delaying rehabilitation, or provided that they’ve rigorously planned and have the appropriate funding, suggest that they seek their treatment abroad? We’ll leave the decision to you, but we hope that we’ve provided you with some valuable food for thought.

+ posts

Throughout the year, our writers feature fresh, in-depth, and relevant information for our audience of 40,000+ healthcare leaders and professionals. As a healthcare business publication, we cover and cherish our relationship with the entire health care industry including administrators, nurses, physicians, physical therapists, pharmacists, and more. We cover a broad spectrum from hospitals to medical offices to outpatient services to eye surgery centers to university settings. We focus on rehabilitation, nursing homes, home care, hospice as well as men’s health, women’s heath, and pediatrics.