An overstretched system, along with accommodating the needs of an aging population has left thousands of feeling frustrated with the NHS to receive knee surgery. As wait lists increase for non-urgent procedures, more patients are turning to private clinics abroad.
Are you a frustrated waitlist candidate? You are not alone.
After conservative methods to reduce knee pain have failed, you may elect to undergo knee surgery. You receive the referral from your GP, expecting the waiting period to be no more than 18 weeks by NHS standards. Unfortunately, all too often this waiting period will be exceeded. Leaving you with the difficult choice of waiting for NHS covered surgery at home or seeking faster treatment abroad.
Wait times are now at their longest over the past decade according to an article in the Telegraph (full article here). An average of 369,007 patients had been waiting for longer than 18 weeks, an increasing hike for the same period in 2016 at 289,195. Surprisingly, some patients may even wait close to one calendar year before receiving surgery. In April, NHS Grampian waiting list had been found to be as high as 342 days in Scotland.
Seeking a solution: traveling abroad to the Czech Republic
So, you’ve heard there is a simple solution to healing your knee pain, avoiding long waitlists, and receiving quality care. Traveling abroad ticks these items, allowing you to regain control of your healthcare. Historically Britons have traveled abroad for more affordable care, and it’s on the rise according to the Office for National Statistics, a 198 percent rise from 48,000 to 144,000 from 2014 to 2016. Traveling within the EU makes this option even more convenient. The Czech Republic is considered to be an ideal destination for knee surgery given its proximity to the UK, highly educated doctors, and advanced technology all at a considerably lower cost.
Let’s not forget NHS payback options
UK citizens may seek funding for procedures in the European Economic Area (EEA) countries either via the EU Directive route or S2 route. The payment conditions, treatment facility, and application processes vary slightly, but the bottom line is if you comply you’ll receive payment for partial or full coverage.
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Contributing writer: Lorna Straka