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What is the cost of treatment abroad?

The actual cost of treatment varies widely across the world, depending on the local economy. In developing countries, such as India, or emerging Eastern European states, the cost of living is still very low. Clinics have lower operating costs and pay lower salaries than their Western European counterparts, which means they can charge less for private treatment.

Typical prices for treatment abroad

The best prices for different treatments are often found in different locations. No single country has the best prices across the board. For example:

  • A single cycle of fertility treatment can cost over £4,000 in the UK, but as little as £1,200 in Turkey or Ukraine.
  • Rhinoplasty (a nose job) typically costs around £3,800 in the UK but just £1,200 in Belgium or under £1,000 in Poland.
  • Dental implants can cost over £2,000 in the UK but can be found using the same high quality materials in Eastern Europe for just £500.

Know what you’re paying for

When shopping around, it is important to know what is included in any treatment costs quoted, as a low headline price can soon climb if extras are added. Always ask for an all-inclusive price and make sure that you understand what exactly is included. Set prices vary from provider to provider but they typically include surgeon fees, hospital fees, medical team, hospital meals, laboratory tests, anaesthesia, implants (if required), all consultations, transfers and take home medication.

You should be clear who pays for what if something goes wrong. Will the clinic cover just the cost of further treatment, or will they pay your additional hotel and living expenses?

NHS-funded treatment abroad

The EU Cross Border Healthcare Directive gives you the right to be treated anywhere within the European Economic Area and have your care costs paid by the NHS, but only if there is an undue delay in your treatment, it is medically necessary and it is normally provided by the NHS in your area.

The directive does not include cosmetic surgery or cosmetic dentistry, but may apply to other operations with a waiting list. You can have your treatment funded either using the S2 route, which is pre-agreed, or by paying yourself and claiming the money back under Article 56.

See “A UK patient's guide to the European Directive on Cross Border Healthcare” for full details.

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