Ten Brits abroad hospitalised each day, FCO

Most hospitalisations happen in Spain. Photo credit: Pabkov / Shutterstock.com

Ten Brits are hospitalised every day while abroad with nearly half unaware of what medical expenses are covered while on holiday, according to new figures from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

New research of 2,000 Brits found that 48% do not know they would have to pay for their own medical bills when abroad if they do not have travel insurance; while 24% of those who have taken our travel insurance do not check if it covers medical repatriation. FCO staff handled 19, 874 cases from 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012, up 3% year-on-year with Spain, the USA and France with the highest cases.

The FCO has used the new report to urge consumers to take out travel insurance and read the small print.

“We witness many cases where people have invalidated their policy – perhaps by not declaring a pre-existing medical condition or not checking their policy covers a particular activity, such as hiring a moped. Unfortunately they are then surprised that the Foreign Office cannot pay for their bills and flight home,” warned Jeremy Browne, minister for consular services. “I urge anyone heading overseas this summer to research their destination, take out comprehensive travel insurance, and carefully check the small print of their policy”.

Party resorts in Majorca, Ibiza, Greece and Egypt registered some of the highest hospital cases and also saw some the most alcohol-related arrests in the full FCO British Behaviour Abroad Report. Arrests between the same period are up 6%, with Spain named as the country where most Brits need consular help.

Consulate advice in the ‘Know Before You Go’ campaign can be found at www.fco.gov.uk/travel

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