Can my GP prescribe extra medication to cover my holiday?

It depends on several things, including:

  • how long your GP thinks you need medication for your condition
  • how often your treatment needs to be reviewed
  • how long you'll be away

Your medication

If you need regular medication for a stable long-term health condition, your GP can prescribe a maximum supply of three months.

If you're taking a course of medication that will finish during your holiday, then get advice from your GP. They may be able to give you a repeat prescription.

However, this can depend on, for example:

  • how long your GP thinks you'll continue to need your medication
  • how often your treatment needs to be reviewed

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

Talk to your GP about this. They will only give you an NHS prescription if they think that you need the medication. They don't have to give you an NHS prescription just because you think you should have the medication.

Some GPs will provide private prescriptions if they agree that you should take medication in case you're ill while you’re away. You will have to pay for a private prescription.

Travel abroad for more than three months

If you're going abroad for more than three months, your GP may prescribe medication to last until you can make arrangements to get it at your destination. This might be by:

  • registering with a doctor in the country you're visiting
  • buying the medication from a pharmacist while you're away

If you're travelling outside the EU, check with your GP whether you can get your medication in the countries you're travelling to before you go. You can also contact each country's embassy or high commission for advice.

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're 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)?

When you return

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

Read the answers to more questions about travel health.

Further information:

Page last reviewed: 24/03/2014

Next review due: 23/03/2016