From insurance to aftercare, Bradley Wright from local solicitors Edwards Duthie Shamash takes a look at some of the important matters to be aware of if you are considering cosmetic surgery abroad
All surgery – cosmetic and medical – has risks attached, whether it is carried out in the UK or abroad. The Royal College of Surgeons recommends patients carry out extensive research as standards and guidelines vary from country to country.
Cosmetic surgery abroad may be less expensive compared with the UK, but any savings should be compared with the possible risks in respect of complications (safety standards may not be as high), who will look after you and whether you will have to travel abroad again for repeat surgery.
When considering cosmetic surgery abroad, patients should be wary of any hospital which markets cosmetic surgery as part of a holiday package. You should never agree to cosmetic surgery prior to meeting the surgeon who intends to carry out the procedure, and you should also visit the hospital where the procedure will take place. This will allow you to ensure the surgeon speaks English (or another language you both speak) and find out about all the planned and possible future costs, especially if things do not go to plan.
When choosing a surgeon abroad, ensure he or she has the same skills and experience as if you were choosing a surgeon in the UK. You should also check the surgeon is insured to carry out the procedure; ask to see details of their insurance and find out if the overseas clinics have someone in the UK you can turn to if there are any problems after.
Just as you would if the surgery was being carried out in the UK, make sure you research what the procedure will involve in terms of consultations, the procedure itself, risks, complications and aftercare. Follow-up care is a vital part of any treatment, and you need to ascertain where your check-ups will take place, how easily you can travel back to where the surgery was carried out and how much that will cost. Be clear what your aftercare package includes. Make sure you have the details of a named doctor who can deal with any complications rather than a helpline.
And don’t forget travel insurance. It is likely ordinary holiday insurance will not cover you if something goes wrong during or after planned treatment abroad.
Most importantly, remember the NHS is unlikely to help you unless you have a serious complication which needs emergency or lifesaving treatment.
The last thing we want is for anyone to suffer because of negligent cosmetic surgery, but if mistakes are made, you should seek legal advice.
Edwards Duthie Shamash is located at 149 High Street, Wanstead, E11 2RL. For more information, call 020 8514 9000 or visit edwardsduthieshamash.co.uk