Many patients have become so scared of the risk of contracting hospital infections in the UK that they are choosing to seek treatment abroad instead, experts have claimed.
Over 50,000 British patients travelled overseas for treatment last year, with India, Hungary and Turkey proving particularly popular, figures have shown.
Katherine Murphy, a spokeswoman for the Patients Association, told the website daijiworld.com: "Hospital infections are the number one concern from callers to our helpline.
"It comes as no surprise that some people are going abroad because they're frightened of NHS infection rates in this country."
Ms Murphy added that the government was "not doing anything to reassure the public" and pointed to the cutting of cleaning budgets and the loss of key staff in hospital infection posts as major issues.
Other than the fear of contracting infections such as methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile, many patients are also choosing to shun the NHS because of long waiting lists and cutbacks in services.
Independent advice on private healthcare