You asked

With regards to medical travel in UK, please help with the following questions:

  1. How can I access data for Medical tourism in 2019 from the International Passenger Survey as it is indicated that the data will be published on 22nd May at 9.30am?

  2. Also, the data provided in 'Total visits to and from the UK for the reason of medical treatment by year 2015 to 2019 released on 4 June 2020 | Ref: 11823' is not in line with the data provided in 'Visits to and from the UK for the reason of medical treatment 2017 (ref. 009507)' and 'Visits to and from the UK for the reason of medical treatment, 2018 (ref: 010192)'.

The total UK residents visiting abroad for year 2017 and 2018 are different in both files. Which dataset should I refer to? The link is as follows:

And it seems the data for 2019 is provided in this file (ref. 11823).

We said

Thank you for your queries and data request.

You first asked about data on Medical tourism in 2019, which you have located on the our website. This data publication was in relation to a specific user request and the file you reference shows the annual numbers for both Overseas and UK residents between 2015 and 2019. The data published on the 22 May at 9.30am, referred to in your request, is the annual publication of travel trends estimates. This publication does not provide data on specific reasons for travel, such as for medical travel reasons.

Unfortunately, we do not hold analysis on the reasons for travel, and are therefore unable to provide this in answer to your freedom of information request. In order to fulfil this request, we would need use a high level of statistical skill and judgement in order to create bespoke analysis. Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Public Authorities are not obligated to create information in order to respond to requests. We therefore consider this to be information not held.

However, the requested data is available to commission as bespoke analysis. Such services would be subject to legal frameworks, disclosure controls, resources and agreement of costs. If you would like to discuss the provision of this bespoke dataset, please contact to discuss your requirements further.

The previous data to which you refer for 2017 and 2018 are in different formats and are broken down by region of the world and quarter. This has now been created for you for the years 2009 to 2019: Please see the download accompanying our response, named 'Copy_of_Visits_to_and_from_the_UK_for_medical_treatment_2009-2019'. Please note, estimates are survey based and subject to a margin of uncertainty. They should be treated with caution.

These data are different from those published previously as improvements have been made to our weighting methodology. The annual data from 2009 to 2018 have been revised using the new estimation method and were included in our annual 2019 publication in May this year.

These changes have been planned for some time and have been referenced in previous travel and tourism publications. One reason for the improvement came from the fact that the survey interviewed more passengers at the starts of their visit than at the end when the numbers would be expected to be approximately equal. This discrepancy has been termed 'imbalance'. There were also some significant differences between the International Passenger Survey data and the Home Office landing cards for certain groups, particularly visits by Chinese residents. Further details on the new method can be found via the following link: