As with any sort of services rendered, there are bound to be those who hate and despise the service that is given. The field of medical tourism, and in particular dental tourism, is no different. A lot of resentment is being felt, and it is, according to the words of Dr. Constantine Constantinides: “motivated by narrow interests, short sightedness, scare-mongering and ignorance. “ In our previous segment, we tried to explain the problems that dental professionals have with patients getting medical treatment abroad. In this one, we will be looking at the patients and their problems.
Some patients, and not just the dentists feel antagonism towards this booming new industry. Most often these patients live in the host country and not the country the patients are coming from, and are laboring under the false impression that there is some sort of internal brain drain, where the doctors do not leave the country, but instead stay there and do not serve the indigenous population, but instead only cater only to the rich foreigners who come here for dental treatment. This sort of resentment is categorized as inbound resentment. It obviously has a dose of that good old, home fried xenophobia and racism, a quality that many politicians and dubious organizations, especially in Eastern Europe, seek to exploit and use for their own gain.
There is some outgoing resentment as well, with patients who are being marketed the travel abroad option feeling not too happy about it, usually because of concerns for the fact that international travel for medical tourism will jack up prices for at home medical care (if a doctor has less patients, he needs to make the same amount of money on less people, i.e: jack the prices up). Of course, with most Western European countries having great public medical care, it is hard to see how this is a valid argument, as anyone can get medical care for free, if they are a citizen. The real reasons for this resentment is distrust, propaganda and of course the aforementioned xenophobia.
Of course the reality is that medical travel is a new market, only partially related to the at home private medical markets of Western Europe, and thus only partially competing with it. While patients are drawn away from home markets, they usually would not be feeding into the private medical establishments, and thus do not really mean a loss of net revenue. Sme loss can be considered, but emergency situations, long term dental care, check ups, in other words, the bread and butter of the private medical establishment remains in the country of origin.