Travel Health

Our practice nurses offer medical advice regarding travel and administer vaccinations where appropriate.  Under the services a GP provides for travel, there is an obligation to give travel advice free of charge and vaccines to registered patients to provide protection against hepatitis A, typhoid and diphtheria, tetanus and polio.  However, where capacity at the surgery allows we may also be able to offer a wider variety of vaccines but these will incur a charge.  If capacity at the surgery does not allow then we will direct you to a private travel clinic for these vaccines instead.

We are unable to provide travel advice and vaccinations to anyone who is not registered at our practice.  

 

Further Travel Information

The following websites will give you additional travel advice:

Travel Health for information of vaccinations available on NHS

MASTA for private vaccination clinics

Gov.uk for specific country travel advice

EHIC to apply for your free European Health Insurance Card

 

Travel Vaccination Prices

Travel advice is covered by the NHS.  However, some vaccinations and prescriptions are only available privately.  If this is the case, it would be discussed directly with the patient prior to appointments being made and any payments for non-NHS services must be made at the first travel appointment.

 

Prescribing Sedatives for Fear of Flying

Chatsworth Road Medical Centre has taken the decision to NOT prescribe sedatives for fear of flying.  The decision has been made by the GP partners and this policy is adhered to by all prescribers working in the practice.  The reasons for this can be found below: 

1) Diazepam is a sedative, which means it makes you sleepy and more relaxed.  If there is an emergency during the flight it may impair your ability to concentrate, follow instructions and react to the situation. This could have serious safety consequences for you and those around you.

2) Sedative drugs can make you fall asleep, however when you do sleep it is an unnatural non-REM sleep. This means you won’t move around as much as during natural sleep.  This can cause you to be at increased risk of developing a blood clot (DVT) in the leg or even the lung. Blood clots are very dangerous and can even prove fatal. This risk is even greater if your flight is greater than four hours.

3) Whilst most people find benzodiazepines like diazepam sedating, a small number have paradoxical agitation and in aggression. They can also cause disinhibition and lead you to behave in a way that you would not normally.  This could impact on your safety as well as that of other passengers and could also get you into trouble with the law.

4) According to the prescribing guidelines doctors follow (BNF) Benzodiazepines are contraindicated (not allowed) in phobia. Your doctor is taking a significant legal risk by prescribing against these guidelines. They are only licensed short term for a crisis in generalised anxiety. If this is the case, you should be getting proper care and support for your mental health and not going on a flight.

5) Diazepam and similar drugs are illegal in a number of countries.  They may be confiscated or you may find yourself in trouble with the police.

6) Diazepam stays in your system for quite a while.  If your job requires you to submit to random drug testing you may fail this having taken diazepam.

We appreciate that fear of flying is very real and very frightening.  A much better approach is to tackle this properly with a Fear of Flying course run by the airlines and we have listed a number of these below.

Easy Jet www.fearlessflyer.easyjet.com Tel 0203 8131644

British Airways www.flyingwithconfidence.com  Tel 01252 793250

Virgin www.flyingwithoutfear.co.uk  Tel 01423 714900

You can also self-refer to the IAPT services for phobias including fear of flying, for more information visit: https://www.insightiapt.org/how-are-you-feeling/phobias/ 

Flight anxiety does not come under the remit of General Medical Services as defined in the GP contract and so we are not obliged to prescribe for this.  Patients who still wish to take Benzodiazepines for flight anxiety despite all of the above points are advised to consult with a private GP or travel clinic.