Medical tourist numbers and complaints from Chinese patients both on the increase


South Korea's government expects more than one million medical tourists to visit the country annually by 2020.

The number of Chinese nationals travelling to South Korea for cosmetic surgery doubled in 2014 to 56,000, but numbers of complaints and complications rose too.

The numbers of failed operations and disputes between customers and South Korean clinics, some of them not operating legally, rose by 15% in 2014 compared to 2013.

Attracted by supposedly safer conditions and better treatment, Chinese medical tourists often pay more than they would at home to receive cosmetic treatment in South Korea. South Korea has 100,000 cosmetic surgeons, but only 2,000 are reported to have the relevant qualifications to administer treatment

The growing number of complaints and increased patient protests has encouraged the Korean embassy in China to warn that diplomatic relations may suffer due to the damage they cause to South Korea's public image.



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