More Britons needing consular help

20 July 2012 09:21

Last year an average of 10 Britons a day had to be admitted to hospital while abroad, according to official figures

Last year an average of 10 Britons a day had to be admitted to hospital while abroad, according to official figures

A minister has urged holidaymakers to take out travel insurance after new figures released by the Foreign Office revealed a rise in the number of people requiring help from British consulates when abroad last year.

Figures for 2011/12 revealed that Spain and the USA were the countries with the most cases of consular assistance required by Brits, with 5,405 and 1,822 respectively.

Excluding statistics for passports, the number of consular assistance cases rose 3% - from 19,228 in 2010/11 to 19.874 in 2011/12.

The statistics, referring to holidaymakers and ex-pats, showed that an average of 10 Britons per day were admitted to hospital last year. There were 3,739 hospital admissions in 2011/12 compared with 3,752 in 2010/11.

Hospital admissions recorded a 132% rise in Majorca when compared to two years earlier, with car accidents and balcony incidents among the most common causes for a trip to the hospital.

The Philippines needed the most consular assistance when the number of British visitors and residents was compared to the number of people requiring help.

Consular services minister Jeremy Browne said: "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.

"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."

Martin Rothwell, Managing Partner at Rothwell & Towler, said: "Medical emergencies abroad can cost a fortune and holidaymakers need to remember that without adequate travel insurance they will be left to foot the bills if they fall ill or have an accident while on holiday.

"But you also need to make sure your travel insurance covers you, so check the policy carefully especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or intend to partake in sports such as banana boating, jet skinning or scuba diving - all of which can sometimes be excluded under the terms of standard travel insurance policies."

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