Long National Health Service (NHS) waiting times have forced 40% of Britons to travel abroad for surgery, according to a new survey.

The survey, by the medical tourism website YourSurgeryAbroad.com and Singapore’s International Medical Travel Association, found that 90% travelled abroad for medical procedures such as eye treatments, blood dialysis and cancer therapy, with only one in ten travelling for cosmetic surgery reasons.

The study found that of the 7,000 respondents 71% of the Britons surveyed used the internet to research international medical treatment options, Reuters reports.

It found that 40% of those surveyed were more likely to consider going abroad for treatment than a year ago because of the recession.

The survey also found that nearly 80% of the respondents were not aware of the European Union Directive, which allows patients to be treated in an EU country with the NHS compensating the fees.