Frequently Asked Questions
Which travel agent do I have to use?
Travel Solutions (formerly Uniglobe Travel) is the travel agent contracted by Guernseys Social Security Department to book your medical travel.
Who is entitled to free health travel?
All patients travelling to the UK after a referral for medical or surgical treatment that is not available in Guernsey.
How are the travel arrangements made?
Please go to our Referrals section to read details on the referral process.
Can I extend my stay in the UK?
Yes, you can extend your stay but you need to pay any extra costs yourself. Please discuss your requirements with the travel agent before your ticket is issued.
What should I do if my plane is delayed on the outward journey or my appointment changes?
Telephone the hospital ward or clinic where you are travelling to, to notify them of the delay. The telephone number will be on your appointment letter. The hospital will then advise you if your appointment will be effected as a result.
If for any reason you are unable to travel to keep your appointment or the hospital changes your appointment or admission date then SSD will fund your travel for your new appointment date. Please return your unused ticket to the travel agent.
There are two different scenarios
What should I do if my plane is delayed on the outward journey?
It is most important that you notify the taxi company of the delay - failure to do this may result in being charged a 'no show' fee and the States will not necessarily pay for another taxi.
What should I do if my appointment changes?
It is most important that you notify Travel Solutions ( if booked through them) immediately so that changes can be noted and acted upon.
What ticket type will be issued if my return date is not known?
If your date of discharge is not known you will be issued with a flexible ticket.
Can my escort get free travel?
Flybe and Aurigny are currently offering special fares on flights to Southampton and London Gatwick for family members travelling with or visiting a Guernsey patient. One free change is allowed on these fares dependant on availability. Please inform SSD staff if you wish to take advantage of this offer as Travel Solutions cannot issue these tickets without authorisation from SSD. These fares are subject to availability and a cheaper more restricted fare may be available outside the scheme depending on the times you want to travel. Please ask Travel Solutions to check for you.
N.B. Please tell SSD staff if you wish to take advantage of this offer, as the travel agent cannot issue these tickets without authorisation from SSD.
What is the routine for my return flight?
Before leaving the hospital ward or clinic telephone the airline for any flight delays. Should you arrive at the airport and find that for any reason your flight has been cancelled and you have to spend a night in the UK, SSD will refund the cost of a reasonably priced hotel or guesthouse accommodation, and any travel expenses to and from the hotel. It is very important that you keep all your receipts in order to make a claim for your refund from the SSD on your return. You must always check in at the airport - failure to check in on time for scheduled departure times will result in a 'no show' and may render your ticket void.
Please note that weather is outside the airlines control, and in that case you will need to secure your own accommodation.
N.B. If you have had surgical treatment your journey home may be delayed even though the doctor may say you are fit for discharge. This is due to the medical restrictions imposed by some of the airlines. You may therefore be required to find accommodation after your discharge from the hospital or alternatively you may be able to travel back by ferry as there are no restrictions for post-op travel by sea.
What arrangements are made for people who have mobility problems and require special assistance?
The travel agent and airline will need to be made aware of the type of assistance you require. Please inform the travel agent at the time of booking so that all necessary arrangements can be made well in advance. Upon checking in at the airport confirm with the airline/ground staff that they are aware of your request for special assistance.
A request for assistance must be made 48 hours in advance. If you think you will need assistance on the return journey this will need to be arranged when booking the outward flight.
What should I do if I am delayed and I need medication, or that because I am delayed I will not be able to get my prescription dispensed?
It is essential that before you leave the hospital you ask to be given sufficient medication for at least 48 hours in case of flight delays, cancellation or that your pharmacy may be closed on your arrival on the island. Your medication should always be carried on your person and it should be easily available to you at all times. All prescribed mediction that you carry must have the dispensing label attached in order to clear customs.
If you arrive in Guernsey on a Sunday or Bank Holiday there is a rota chemist open between 11am and 12 noon. The Guernsey Press will have details and a poster will be displayed on the door of all closed pharmacies. All other regular hours your GPs surgery will be able to help you.
N.B. This is most important for people who are diabetic and require insulin or in the case for example of people with angina, asthma etc
Will I be charged for drugs and medicines in the UK?
If you are given a NHS prescription and you have it dispensed in the UK you will have to pay the UK prescription charge for each item. SSD cannot refund the cost of prescription charges paid in the UK. It may be more convenient for you to bring the prescription back to Guernsey and ask your doctor to write a local prescription and pay the local prescription charge.
What is a consent form and why might I have to sign one?
A consent form is a document specifically designed for a patient to give consent to allow a Doctor, Physician, Surgeon or Radiologist permission to carry out a defined named medical procedure, investigation, operation, biopsy or removal of a named organ. This document must be signed by the patient and witnessed.
Before giving your consent it is in your best interest that you are fully aware what is involved in the medical procedure and be knowledgeable about the outcome and prognosis before signing. You should ask the medical staff as many questions as you feel is relevant to relieve any anxieties or worries that you might have.
At what age am I allowed to sign my own medical consent form?
16 years of age is the statutory minimum age that allows you to sign this document