The number of British patients seeking treatment abroad has nearly doubled over the past two years, according to reports.

Many people are getting frustrated with the NHS, either because of waiting lists or concerns over hospital superbugs, and are instead choosing to seek private treatment.

However, this can be costly and it is often cheaper to fly overseas for treatment.

For example, a hip replacement procedure that costs up to £15,000 in the UK might cost only £5,000 in Germany or even less in India, the Financial Times reports.

However, a study by the consultancy McKinsey found that cheaper care is not the only, or indeed the main reason for seeking treatment abroad.

The report suggests that 40 per cent of medical tourists are seeking "the world's most advanced technology" while 32 per cent want to obtain a better quality of care than they would receive in their own country.

A new EU proposal for a directive on patients' rights to cross-border healthcare should soon make it easier for medical tourists to seek treatment elsewhere in the European Union, creating a legal framework for the reimbursement of treatment.

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