Increasing numbers of people are travelling from the UK to exotic and remote destinations, and health professionals giving advice on travel health must be competent to do so.
All General Practices should be registered users of Travax. For nursing staff, the Royal College of Nursing has published Travel health nursing: career and competence development.
National decisions on prescription status are based on the balance of personal risk versus population risk. Antimalarials should not be prescribed for prophylaxis on the NHS; a private prescription must be issued. If preferred, community pharmacies can advise on and sell non-prescription antimalarial medicines over the counter. Community pharmacies can also advise on other issues related to travel medicine. In addition to Travax, additional information is available at fitfortravel.
Taking medicines out of the UK
Patients requiring regular repeat medication for a stable pre-existing illness may be supplied with an NHS prescription for a maximum of three months treatment, to provide treatment for the journey and until further supplies can be secured at the destination.
If patients are to be out of the UK for longer than this then they may require on-going medical review and it would be more appropriate to provide a letter detailing the patient’s medicines until they can make arrangements to get further supplies of medicines at their destination.
Advice for patients requesting medicines for taking on extended holidays and for taking prescribed controlled drugs outside the UK is available at NHS Choices - Can I take my medicine abroad.
A person is not entitled to NHS provision of drugs where there is no existing condition. Any requests for items to be prescribed in case of illnesses contracted whilst travelling abroad (eg ciprofloxacin or oral rehydration sachets for diarrhoea) are a private transaction.