GB/US: Travelling for medical services
May 29th, 2022, Christien Pheby

GB/US: Travelling for medical services

Medical tourism has occasionally been associated with people from less well-off countries travelling to more well-off countries to access better healthcare services – but data from YouGov Profiles Great Britain and US shows that a proportion of the public in both countries would nevertheless travel abroad to access vital services.

In Britain, for example, a fifth (18%) of the public say they would seek cancer treatment elsewhere, and 17% say the same of dentistry. This suggests that a minority of the population believe that the NHS may not provide the level of service they wish. A smaller percentage would go abroad for eye surgery (12%), heart surgery (12%), or an organ transplant (11%).

But in the US, which doesn’t have a national health service, it’s a similar story. Again, a fifth would go abroad for cancer treatment (18%), and again, dentistry is the second most popular option (14%). Organ transplantation and eye surgery come in joint-third (13%), while heart surgery isn’t far behind (12%).

In both nations, fewer than two in five (38% GB; 34% US) say they wouldn’t travel abroad for any kind of medical service – which could suggest that, in both systems, there may be some gaps that the general public would like to see filled on the home front.


YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data is nationally representative and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles.

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