Europe offers a vast array of high quality healthcare options.

Europe offers a vast array of high quality healthcare options.

Overall, Switzerland is regarded as one of the most advanced countries for medicine.

It has two major research centres at the University of Bern and the University of Zurich.

The best hospital in the world is regarded as Charité in Berlin, Germany, according to a major study by Newsweek last year.

But it’s not all about world class hospitals – some of the highest quality facilities can be found in many different European countries.

For example, clinics in Spain, Finland, Norway, Italy and France are also listed in the top 100 in the world.

An increasing number of people in Europe are opting to travel for the best care, if staying at home means they will face delays.

Word of mouth also now means more Irish people understand what is involved in travelling for healthcare abroad and how it can be funded by the HSE.

A greater understanding of what is possible has also been driven by established organisations, led by Irish people, like healthcareabroad.ie, that understand the specific needs of Irish people seeking treatment and have links with Irish GPs that are very familiar with the system.

Good patient experiences are also an important part of eliminating concerns and normalising travel for important medical care. These testimonials have eased concerns about travelling for many.

When you look at a population’s level of health in a given country, that can be an indicator of the quality of its own healthcare.

The Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index in 2019 ranked Spain number one.

People who have visited Spain for holidays know what to expect and can see the quality of the diet and the environment and the friendliness of the people, who mostly also speak English.

These elements are reflected in Spain’s healthcare system.

The expectation is that in the years ahead, more Irish people will see treatment abroad as a very attractive option.

The HSE figures on the increasing number choosing this option and funded by Ireland prove this to be the case.

Plus the growing patient numbers travelling reflect increased confidence in the system, which is now well-established.