Prescriptions for Overseas Travel & Holidays
Under NHS legislation the NHS ceases to have responsibility for people when they leave the UK. However, if you are going to be travelling abroad and need medication for a stable pre-existing health condition, your GP may prescribe you with up to 3 months medication if they deem this medically appropriate. When determining the appropriate prescription for you, your GP needs to take into account how long you need to continue your medication for and how often your treatment needs to be reviewed, so you may be prescribed with less than the 3 months supply.
If you are going to be abroad for longer than 3 months, you will need to make arrangements to obtain a supply of medication at your destination. You can do this by either registering with a doctor in the country you are visiting, or buying the medication from a pharmacist while you are away
Patients sometimes request a prescription for medication they think they may need when abroad, for example in case they get diarrhoea, a reaction to mosquito bites, or if their period might be due. Depending on the circumstances of the request, a GP may or may not agree to prescribe medication in these situations. If the GP does agree to prescribe medication, this will always be deemed a private prescription, and the medication will have to be paid for at the pharmacy.
Patients on Methadone
To take more than 500 mls or 15 days supply out of the United Kingdom, patients require a Home Office licence. This needs to be applied for at least 7 days before travelling. The address to which applications should be sent (stating dates of travel, form of medication, daily dose and total amount going out of the country) is:
Home Office, Drugs Licensing Section, Room 315, Horseferry House, Dean Ryle Street, London SW1P 2AW.
Patients intending to take less than 500 mls out of the country are advised to carry a letter from their GP confirming that they are in possession of the medication for legitimate medical purposes. Patients should note that there will be a charge for this letter, as the provision of this is not covered by the NHS.
Taking the above steps enables patients to take methadone out of the United Kingdom. However, patients must be aware that this does not necessarily give them the right to take it into the country they are visiting. Patients must check with the embassy or consulate of the country (or countries) they are visiting before departure to find out what restrictions may apply – and should be aware that this may take a long time!