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Traveling Abroad

Regarding requests for General Practitioners to prescribe medications for travel abroad:

  • Under NHS regulations, the NHS ceases to have responsibility for people when they leave the UK.
  • For NHS patients travelling for three months or less, medication required for a pre-existing condition should be provided in sufficient quantity to cover the journey and to allow the patient to obtain medical attention abroad. The General Practitioners Committee Guidance on Prescribing in General Practice 2013 states that the NHS accepts responsibility for supplying on-going medication for temporary periods abroad of up to 3 months.
  • For longer visits abroad (in excess of three months), the patient should be advised to register with a local doctor for continuing medication; this may need to be paid for by the patient. If a person is going to be abroad for more than three months then all that the patient is entitled to at NHS expense is a sufficient supply of his/her regular medication to get to the destination and find an alternative supply of that medication.
  • Anyone staying outside of their home country for longer than three months should register with a doctor in the country they are visiting for the purpose of receiving further prescriptions.
  • Patients who are carrying certain controlled drugs abroad may require a personal export or import licence or a letter from the prescribing doctor.
  • GPs are not required to provide prescriptions for medication which is requested solely in anticipation of the onset of an ailment whilst outside the UK, but for which treatment is not required at the time of prescribing.

In summary, General Practitioners may prescribe up to 3 months of medication for your travel abroad. However, if you will be abroad for longer than 3 months you will need to make alternative arrangements with the country/countries in which you will be staying.

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