“Around 3% of people who have immigrated to Europe have done so for health reasons”, says the annual report by the European Observatory for healthcare access. This report was published by Médecins du monde (MdM) on Monday, and was based on an inquiry involving 22,171 patients that used their services in nine European countries. In Belgium, 2,366 people that regularly use the MdM sites in Brussels and Antwerp took part in the inquiry.
A very large majority (93.6% in Europe, 98.2% in Belgium) of patients were foreign. “It’s a revealing figure: so-called “medical tourism” is a myth. Barely 3% of people who immigrated did so for health reasons. On average, immigrants are in Europe for 6.5 years before they ask the MdM for help”, said the NGO. The main reason the people asked gave for immigrating was economic (50.2%). Belgium has no figures on reasons for immigrating, as hardly anybody answered that question.
“There’s no correlation between the number of people that immigrated for health reasons, among others, and the restrictions and obstacles they face to get access to healthcare in these countries”, says MdM.