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Access to Medication for UK Residents Stranded Abroad as a Result of Coronavirus

Patients travelling abroad are advised to register with a local medical practitioner for any conditions that arise while they are abroad.


When a patient travels abroad, provision of medicines for the treatment of existing long-term conditions may be provided at NHS expense for up to 3 months. If a patient is travelling abroad for longer than 3 months they are expected to arrange for an alternative supply of medicine at their destination.

GP prescribing of repeat medication for people stranded abroad is not supported. When doctors prescribe a drug, they are clinically and legally responsible for any results of that decision to prescribe. In view of this, it would not be considered good clinical practice for a doctor to prescribe large amounts of repeat medication to a patient going abroad for an extended period of time, since the prescriber will not be able to monitor the patient.


Patients can be reassured that most medications are available in most countries so they are likely to be able to access a continuing supply of medications for long term conditions.


GMS regulations state that patients should be removed from the practice list where notification has been received that the patient intends to be outside of the UK for more than 3 months. This regulation has not been relaxed currently amid coronavirus pandemic.


The British Medical Association (BMA) has also not updated their guidance.

More information can be found on the UK government website: www.gov.uk – Waiting to return to the UK during coronavirus (COVID-19).

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