This policy outlines the procedure for patients travelling abroad for short and long periods of time and those permanently leaving the UK.
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 or are permanently leaving the UK, 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.
Ilkley & Wharfedale Medical 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 patients 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 exacerbation 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