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04 August 2015 09:16
Some 38,000 emergency travel documents were issued to British nationals
Thousands of British nationals ran into difficulties overseas last year, figures show, but help came in the form of Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) assistance.
The new Helping British Nationals Abroad report reveals the FCO issued almost 38,000 emergency travel documents to help people return to the UK in 2014/15.
Consular staff supported more than 17,000 British nationals who needed serious assistance during the 12-month period.
Minister for Consular Affairs Grant Shapps launched the new report on a visit to the British Consulate and Global Contact Centre in Malaga.
He praised the dedication of consular staff on the front-line and at home, who do everything from making hospital visits to injured individuals and contacting friends and family, through to supporting grieving loved ones.
The report also reveals British embassies, high commissions and consulates around the world handled over 470,000 enquiries in 2014/15, while the FCO supported British nationals in 15 crisis situations.
It comes at a time when British nationals are making a greater number of trips abroad.
Separate data shows they made more than 60 million trips overseas in 2014, while over five million are estimated to live abroad.
Mr Shapps says the report offers important advice on how people can take responsibility for their own safety abroad.
From checking the FCO travel advice and taking out comprehensive travel insurance, to researching the country and health risks before travelling, he claims there is plenty holidaymakers can do to protect themselves overseas.
Arrests plummeted by 12% in 2014/15. But hospitalisations increased by 3%.
Mental health cases also continued to rise, meaning an almost 50% jump in the last five years.
This is an increasing area of focus for consular staff, who Mr Shapps says will carry on providing a crucial source of support this summer.
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