Prolonged stays outside the UK

Hermitage Medical Practice


Medication and Phonecalls.



A limited supply of repeat mediation can be supplied (maximum 3 months, may be less). ‘Just in case’ medications may sometimes be prescribed but will attract a charge payable at the pharmacy as the NHS does not cover treatment for conditions that may occur while abroad.  Please note some frequent Q&A below.

1) Can my GP prescribe extra medication while I go abroad?

If you need medication for a stable, long-term health condition, your GP can only supply a maximum supply of up to 3 months.

However this depends on

  • How long your GP thinks you need to continue your medication
  • How often your treatment needs to be reviewed

In that case your doctor may be only able to supply an amount for less than 2 months. This is because a doctor remains clinically responsible for a patient as long as they are prescribing for them, and they may also be infringing local laws and regulations by treating patients who are not in the UK.

2) What if I am abroad for longer than 3 months?

Your GP can only prescribe a maximum of 3 months treatment, and you will need to make arrangements to get more at your destination. This may be by:

  • Registering with a doctor in the country you are visiting
  • Buying the medication from a pharmacist while you are away

If a person is going abroad for more than 3 months then only a sufficient supply of his/her regular medication can be provided to enable them to get to their destinations and find an alternative supply. This is the maximum a person is entitled to under NHS care if they are leaving the country for more than three months. In fact some Health Boards instruct their GPs to remove patients from their lists who are abroad for more than 3 months.

NHS prescriptions should never be obtained by relatives or friends on behalf of patients who are currently abroad, irrespective of factors such as owning a house in the UK or paying UK taxes. Patients are also responsible for ensuring that any drugs they take into a country conform to local laws.

3) What if I offer to pay for my prescription?

The GP still remains medico-legally responsible for this prescription (see above).

4) Can I get medication in case I am ill abroad?

E.g. in case I get diarrhoea

I get reactions to mosquito bites

My period might be due.

If the GP does agree to prescribe medication in case you are ill abroad, as this is not covered by the NHS it will be on a private prescription which you will have to pay for at the pharmacy.


GPs are not legally covered to treat patients who are not currently in the UK, even via a telephone consultation. They could also be breaching local laws and professional regulations of the country where the patient is currently staying. Therefore while patients may call to book appointments, get results etc, they will not be able to have a phone consultation, in any form, from a GP.


Information is taken from the, BMA website, website, other government websites and represents current government and legal advice.

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