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Prescribing Policy for Patients Travelling Abroad
This policy outlines the procedure for patients travelling abroad for short and long periods of time.
By law, the NHS ceases to have responsibility for the medical care of patients when they leave the UK. In addition, GPs are not required by their terms of service to provide prescriptions for the treatment of a condition that is not present and may arise while the patient is abroad.
The NHS does accept responsibility for supplying ongoing medication for temporary periods abroad of up to 3 months. However, if a person is going to be abroad for more than 3 months, then they are only entitled (at NHS expense) to a sufficient supply of regular medication in order to get to their destination, where they should the find an alternative supply of that medication.
Patients residing abroad for a period of more than 3 months should be removed from the registered patient list.
Woodland Avenue Practice Policy
Travelling out of the country for less than 3 months
For patients who inform us they will be out of the country for less than 3 months, we will provide sufficient medicines for an existing condition (e.g., asthma, diabetes…) for the period while the patient is away where it is safe to do so. Drugs that require frequent monitoring may not be prescribed where there are safety concerns. 1 months’ supply only will be issued for drugs normally available over the counter, such as paracetamol.
Travelling out of the country for more than 3 months
Patients who inform us they will be leaving the country for more than 3 months will be prescribed sufficient medication to enable them to make alternative arrangements at their destination (up to 3 months’ supply where safe to do so).
They will also be removed from our patient list. We will be pleased to re-register patients on their return to residence in the UK and can reassure patient that their electronic notes are kept on file for reference on your return.
Patients and relatives should not seek medication for themselves while they are abroad as this constitutes NHS fraud.
Prescriptions for medicines in case of illness while abroad.
GPs will only prescribe NHS prescriptions in this case for exacerbations of pre-existing illnesses, e.g., antibiotics for patients who have frequent infections secondary to an underlying lung condition.
GPs may provide private prescriptions if it is clinically appropriate, and they can be self-administered safely without medical assessment while abroad. These prescriptions are not free.
Patients should be aware that some drugs commonly prescribed in the UK may be illegal in certain countries and you should check with that countries embassy before you travel.
See NHS facts of travel abroad
Chief Nursing Officer for England, Ruth May said: “Face coverings and social distancing measures will remain in place across healthcare settings so that the most vulnerable people can continue to safely attend hospital, their GP surgery, pharmacy or any other healthcare settings for advice, care and treatment.
“And it is important for the public to continue to play their part when visiting NHS and care settings to help protect our staff and patients, particularly those who may be more vulnerable to infections.
“As restrictions are lifted in many places on Monday everyone has a part to play in helping to control Covid by getting vaccinated and acting responsibly.
“It is vital that in healthcare settings, we do all we can to reduce the risk of infection for those working in our services and those who need our care.”
Please do not use this service for any urgent medical queries as this service is only monitored during practice working hours.
Your question will be passed to an appropriate member of staff for a response. We aim to respond to all questions within two working days.
If you do have an urgent medical query you should telephone the surgery or contact the out of hours service by calling 01582 572239. In an emergency please contact 999.