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NHS patients may travel to India for treatment

Britain may soon permit patients at its state-funded National Health Service to travel to India for speedy and cheaper medical treatment.

india Updated: Jan 13, 2008 13:42 IST
HS Rao

Britain may soon permit patients at its state-funded National Health Service to travel to India for speedy and cheaper medical treatment.

The issue was discussed between Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss and British authorities here and the "response" was positive.

"We had discussions about how to use the Indian medical facilities by the NHS," Ramadoss said, addressing a national conference on the 60th Anniversary celebration of India's Independence and the setting up of the NHS at the Royal College of Physicians in London on Saturday.

"At present, NHS patients can have treatment at places within three hours flying and we have request that the flying limit may be lifted and in the present day globalised world there is not much of a difference between three hours and seven and a half hours flying."

"The response was positive and in the next few months, NHS may open out," the minister said, adding, "we believe these issue could be solved through dialogue."

During the discussions, Ramadoss also pressed for mutual recognition of medical degrees and unilateral recognition of post-graduate degrees in five countries -- India, Australia, the UK, New Zealand and the USA Ramesh Mehta, President of British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO), the organiser of the conference, expressed his gratitude to the minister for "initiating a political dialogue" with British authorities.

Ajit Lalvani, Chair of Infectious Diseases and Head, Tuberculosis Immunology Group, Department of Respiratory Medicine, Imperial College, London, said premier British medical institutions were currently looking at India to develop research in partnership.