During the last week or so the newspaper headlines have reported that hard-up hospitals in Spain are either turning British patients away from A&E if they don’t have adequate travel insurance or indeed are stinging UK citizens for health treatment which under EU reciprocal arrangement via the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)) should be free of charge.
We’ve been naturally quite drawn to these recent stories and it does suggest that some hospitals in Spain are more concerned with money than medicine. Sadly, UK taxpayers, who have the misfortune of falling ill while on holiday and worse still, ending up in a foreign hospital and needing treatment, are being ripped off with huge medical bills.
It’s probably no great surprise then that a new piece of travel research commissioned by i-interpret4u, discovered that ‘getting ill and ending up in a foreign hospital is the single biggest top fear for Brits when travelling overseas. These findings are indeed reflective of recent headlines.
A nation of worriers – our research also confirmed that 83% of UK holidaymakers confirm they do worry about going on holiday abroad leaving just a very small proportion of us (17%) completely at ease with the idea. Respondents were asked to name their top three fears when holidaying abroad – the majority of people cited getting ill and ending up in a foreign hospital as their biggest fear. In second place was the prospect of losing your passport, followed by losing your luggage as the third most popular answer.
Dealing with scenarios like these while abroad are always worrying, you’re miles away from home, you don’t speak the language, often you don’t truly understand the culture. To make matters worse, hospitals in Spain and many other countries are trying to survive in a struggling economy and tourist hot-spots like this that are popular with Brits put us directly in the line of fire from a cost point of view. Add to that the language barrier and the scenario becomes all the more complex for even the most seasoned traveller to deal with.