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Travelling abroad

If you need medication for a stable long-term condition, we can supply you with a prescription for extra supply of medication to cover your holiday abroad. The maximum duration of additional medications supplied on the NHS is 3 months for most medication.

Before we can supply you with medication to cover your holiday, a GP will need to consider factors such as the type of medication you are taking and local policies around supply of medication to cover long holidays. For example, if you are taking a medicine which requires you to have regular monitoring or blood tests, your GP will need to consider this. Therefore, you should arrange to see your GP several weeks before you go away on holiday to discuss this.

Will my GP prescribe medication in case I'm ill when I'm away?

Please talk to one of our GPs about this. We will only give you an NHS prescription if we think that you need the medication. We do not have to give you an NHS prescription just because you think you should have the medication.

Sometimes GPs will provide private prescriptions if they agree that you should take medication in case you are ill while you are away. You will have to pay for a private prescription. If you are uncertain, or wish to know more please contact us for further information.

Check what medication you can take

Before you travel, find out if there are any restrictions on taking your medicine in and out of:

  • the UK
  • the country you are visiting

Some medicines available over the counter in the UK may be controlled in other countries. For more information, see Can I take my medicine abroad? and What is a controlled medicine (drug)?

If you are travelling overseas for 3 months or more or have 3 months or more supply of a prescribed controlled drug you must obtain a licence to enter or leave the UK.

If your drugs are on the controlled drug list (please enquire at your usual surgery if you are not sure) you need to apply at least 10 working days before you are due to travel. Applications made from overseas could take longer. You will need to obtain a letter from your GP (there will be a charge for this service) to send with the appropriate Home Office form to the specified address. The letter must confirm your name, travel itinerary and a list of the prescribed controlled drugs including doses and total amounts.

You do not need to carry a licence if carrying supplies for less than 3 months but should still have a letter from your GP with the above information. You may need to show the letter when going through customs.

This information applies to the movement of drugs over UK borders. Other countries may have their own import regulations and we strongly advise that you check with your UK-based representatives of the countries you are travelling to or through.

The Home Office form and much more detailed information can be found at

When you return

If you are given any medication while you are away, try to find out if it is legal to bring it back into the UK. If you are in any doubt, declare it at customs when you come back.

Read the answers to more questions about Travel Health

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