Obtaining a Doctor’s Note
If you are required to take prescribed medication you should consult your GP or Practise Nurse and make them aware of your travel plans before booking your holiday.
The country you are planning to travel to or the distance of travel may not be suitable for some conditions, likewise if your Doctor declares you are not fit to fly you should consider alternative transport and alert your travel insurance provider. Flying or any travel against medical advice will void any policy.
It is important to note you may need to pay for a Doctor’s letter as this service is not provided under the NHS, so allow for this extra cost. The letter should include the generic name of the medication and not just the brand name, as well as the name of the medical condition you are taking the medication for and the dosage, your travel itinerary and your personal details.
It may be worth having the letter translated into the language of the country you are travelling to so communication with officials will be quicker and easier.
Carrying your medication
Although it is not legally required in all countries, to avoid suspicion, your medication and the associated equipment (syringes, needles, etc.) should be kept in the original packaging and correctly labelled.
Carrying your medication and accompanying Doctor’s note or prescription in your hand luggage will make proceeds easier if questioned by customs, but always keep a spare supply in your suitcase in case your hand luggage goes missing. It is also worth noting, some medications should be kept cold so invest in an ice pack or a medication chill bag (available online).
What are controlled medications?
Controlled medication falls under the Misuse of Drug Legislation and require additional legal controls. Examples include; strong painkillers including diamorphine and those containing opioids, anti-anxiety medications and hormone medication containing anabolic steroids.
If you are planning to travel with more than a three month supply of a controlled medication you will need to apply for a personal licence issued by the Home Office. This licence will allow you to take a controlled medication in and out of the UK, however you should still check with the countries Embassy or Consulate. You should apply for a personal licence at least ten working days before you are due to travel and provide a supporting letter from your Doctor stating the name and reason of medication, your personal details and travel itinerary.
Do you need to tell your travel insurance about your medication?
All medical conditions will need to be declared to your travel insurance provider during the quotation period. We recommend looking for a policy that will ask for the names and medical reasons for your medication, so you have a separate note of all your medication and why you take them – that way your insurer will be able to accurately assess any risks. Insurancewith and Postcard Travel Insurance both ask for the names of your medication and carry out a thorough medical declaration, as do Boots Travel Insurance.
It is worth noting, although you have declared your medication and medical conditions with your travel insurer you will still need to obtain a Doctor’s note and a copy of your prescription when travelling.