Medical care on holiday

This section offers information and useful links about how to get medical treatment abroad, and how to stay healthy during your holiday.

European Health Insurance Card

A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles UK citizens to free or discounted state-provided health care in all European Economic Area countries and Switzerland.

An EHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance – you will not necessarily be covered for all medical costs or for any emergency flights home.

Apply for an EHIC

Getting medical treatment abroad

In most countries around the world you will have to pay for medical treatment, so travellers are strongly advised to take out private health insurance. The UK has reciprocal health-care agreements with some countries, which enables travellers to receive free or low cost emergency care.

Getting medical treatment in Australia – Medicare

Medicare is the Australian reciprocal health-care agreement which allows UK citizens access to limited subsidised health services for medically necessary treatment while visiting Australia.

More about Medicare

Vaccinations

Six weeks before you are due to travel visit your GP's surgery to check out if you need any jabs or anti-malaria treatment for your chosen destination. You should also visit your dentist and optician before going on longer trips.

Check what vaccinations you may need

Medication

Ensure you pack enough of your medication for the duration of your trip in your hand luggage. Take medication in its original packaging and also take any prescription documents with you. It's worth checking with the London embassy of the country you are visiting that your medication will be legal and if you need to take a doctor's letter with you.

Your health and flying

Dehydration is the most common discomfort you will experience while flying, but there are more serious problems associated with sitting still for long periods of time such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). To combat DVT drink plenty of water, avoid too much alcohol, and undertake some simple exercises in your seat or intermittently move about the aircraft.

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