Why do you need travel advice?
If you are travelling then there is a chance that you may get an infection which may be preventable either through a vaccine programme or risk minimisation.
You may have illnesses e.g. diabetes where you need advice on how to take your insulin travelling across time zones.
You need to be seen 6 weeks before you travel
National guidelines actually suggest that you need to be seen at least 8 weeks prior to travel. Often patients who are travelling in the next week or so are seen, but vaccines do not provide cover for many infections as they will not have time to work.
If you are travelling in less than six weeks we are NOT obliged to provide you with travel vaccinations.
What you need to do before your appointment
Before your appointment we want you to contact MASTA. This is a recognised travel advice centre that health professionals and the public are advised to contact. There is a charge, approx £3 for a phone call or £3.49 on their website. (The NHS Direct website and fit for travel website are two other websites which will give you general travel advice, but are not specific enough).
In contacting MASTA you will get up to date and precise information on your immunisation needs and as infections spread and change it is important that this is up to date.
Bring the MASTA form with you to your appointment; this will save a lot of time.
You think you cannot afford to contact MASTA
MASTA is a relatively cheap site to contact. If you put it in perspective with a passport / flight costs or insurance, it is a small proportion of the cost of your travel. It is also a lot cheaper than visiting a private travel clinic who will charge you for both the consultation and any vaccines.
You cannot get to the surgery for an appointment?
If you cannot get to see a nurse at the surgery due to other commitments (e.g. work), then there are many recognised travel clinics
e.g. BA Travel Clinic: 0845 600 2236 www.ba.com/travelclinics
How can I find out what I am immunised for?
You can look at your immunisation records by using the record access system in the waiting room or by asking the receptionist, both will provide you with details of what vaccines you have had and when. You can also request a copy of your immunisation records from the receptionist.
We will not know about vaccines you have had at travel clinics unless you tell us - so you should keep these safe.
You have contacted MASTA and looked at your immunisations and you only need some advice or malaria prophylaxis.
Then you could make an appointment to see either a nurse or doctor, who can give you both verbal advice and an appropriate prescription for malaria prevention.
Do we provide travel bags?
No, we do not provide water purification tablets or medical begs. You will need to purchase these from either a travel clinic or a chemist.
What vaccines do we provide free of charge?
Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Meningitis C, Tetanus and Polio are provided free of charge. Diphtheria, Rabies, Japanese Encephalitis and Hepatitis B can be charged for. We DO NOT provide yellow fever vaccination. If you need Rabies or Japanese Encephalitis you need to collect a prescription first as we do not stock at the surgery. Malaria Prophylaxis can be prescribed on normal prescription.
We provide you with a written card of your vaccinations, this is free of charge.
(Yellow fever requires a specific form which you would get from the provider).
Other travel needs
a) you are fully insured for medical emergencies including repatriation. The 'T7' leaflet (from Post Offices) gives details of health care agreements between countries and is accompanied by an application form for the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The completed form must be submitted about 6 weeks before you plan to leave to allow the card to reach you on time. The EHIC entitles travellers to reduced-cost, sometimes free, medical treatment in most European countries.
b) you have enough medication, you may be on repeat prescription drugs - we can only give you a maximum of 12 weeks of tablets for travel. you can get a list of your medications & health problems from reception to take with you.
c) you have travel essentials e.g. suntan screen, condoms.
The latest of our occassional newsletters, this one updating on appointment availability