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What to do if you need medical assistance on holiday

Posted on February 25, 2014 by Kelly Johnstone
Man with broken leg by a swimming pool

So you’ve finally arrived in your dream destination. You’ve thrown all your holiday clothes over the place with scant regard for the cleaners and you’re looking forward to recharging your batteries in the sweltering sunshine.

But then disaster strikes on the last day of your holiday. In your haste to beat your grandchildren into the swimming pool, you slip on a tube of carelessly discarded sun cream and end up breaking your leg.

Ok, so it’s an unlikely scenario and one that would certainly amuse or alarm your friends on your return home. But if you suddenly needed to see a doctor abroad for a medical emergency, would you know what to do, or who to call?

Ahead of your travels, it’s important to note your travel insurance provider’s medical emergency contact details.

Your medical emergency will then be dealt with by a team of professionals who speak the local language and have a database of local hospitals and clinics. A doctor or medical team will then be able to assess the level of care you need over the phone and arrange the most suitable course of action, be it admission to a local hospital or to fly you home. If you end up staying abroad for treatment, they will keep in close contact with you and can help deal with any problems such as interpretation, until you are well enough to come home.

Our Basic and Comprehensive policies cover you for medical emergencies as well as additional flights home for you and your travelling companion. In addition, we pay for any extra accommodation needed and will even provide a competent adult to accompany your children or grandchildren home should you unexpectedly have to add a hospital stay to your list of holiday activities. It’s also worth noting that with a Comprehensive policy, we can help you replace any lost or stolen medicine – well worth it when you are in a foreign country and in need of medication fast.

Top tips for staying safe abroad

  • Learn the word for ‘doctor’ or ‘hospital’ in the language of the country you’re visiting. You could also carry the words on a card in your wallet or purse, if you can’t remember them.
  • Always travel with your health information written down, such as blood type, allergies and any medication you are taking.
  • Look up the local ‘999′ emergency number. If you have an emergency, the best thing to do is call an ambulance. Then, you, a friend or family member can contact Staysure on the emergency number as soon as possible.
  • Leave copies of your insurance policy at home with someone you trust. That way, you can always ring them should you lose your card or documents.
  • Tell a family member of friend how often you are likely to phone home as they will be able to raise the alarm if there is an emergency and you can’t get medical help yourself
  • Notify your family of any hospital visits as soon as possible
  • If you are travelling to Europe (excluding Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland), apply for a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). The card entitles you to reciprocal health agreements that exist between EU countries. Please note, the GHIC (or EHIC if yours is still valid) offers the same level of care available to citizens of the country you’re visiting, meaning it may not be up to the standard you are used to in the UK. You can apply online for a GHIC or call 0300 330 1350.

Looking for Travel Insurance?

Remember, if the unexpected happens abroad, we are just a phone call away.  Get a quick quote online, or to speak to our team of holiday insurance specialists about any questions or concerns by calling 0800 033 4902.

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