Prescribing For Patients Who Are Abroad

During this lockdown period, we have been getting more frequent requests to prescribe medication for patients who are abroad.

  • NHS recommendations regarding travelling abroad are as follows: Patients who are leaving the country for more than three months are no longer entitled to NHS care
  • For longer visits abroad, the patient should be advised to register with a local doctor for continuing medication and care; this may need to be paid for by the patient.
  • Medication required for a pre-existing condition should be provided in sufficient quantity to cover the journey (in line with above advice, but no more than 3 month’s supply) and to allow the patient to obtain medical attention abroad
  • Certain medicines such as Insulin are recommended to be stored in the fridge.  It can be unclear  if the cold chain for storage of these products is being maintained during transit to the another country and the method being used.  The patient would need to ensure the products are appropriate to be used on arrival.  You should also consider this in your prescribing decision as legal responsibility for this medication lies with the prescriber.  


If GPs chose to prescribe privately for these patients, they must balance the risks of prescribing for a patient for long periods without monitoring.   You may also wish to re-consider whether you are happy to prescribe if correct storage conditions cannot be guaranteed as the prescriber would be liable in this situation.

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