Travel vaccinations

Advice for GPs and LMCs on the regulations for travel immunisations – some must always be given with no fee, some cannot, and some can be given as either an NHS or private service.
Location: UK
Audience: GPs Practice managers Patients and public
Updated: Thursday 16 January 2020
GP practice article illustration

This guidance is to help GPs and LMCs (local medical committees) understand the regulations on travel immunisations. Clinical information is in the Green Book.

Vaccinations that must be given for free

These vaccinations must be given as part of NHS provision though GMS additional services, and no fee can be charged to a registered patient:

  • cholera
  • hepatitis A
  • paratyphoid
  • poliomyelitis
  • smallpox
  • typhoid.

 

Vaccinations that are not free

These vaccinations are not free on the NHS:

  • Japanese encephalitis and tick-borne encephalitis
  • meningitis vaccines
  • rabies
  • tuberculosis (TB)
  • yellow fever.

Charging

The practice may charge a registered patient if the vaccination is requested for travel.

The patient may either be given a private prescription to get the vaccines, or charged for stock purchased and held by the practice. Administration is also chargeable.

An FP10 (or equivalent NHS prescription) must not be used to provide these vaccines.

 

Travel vaccinations that can be either NHS or private

Schedule 5 of the NHS regulations 7 states: ‘The contractor may demand or accept a fee or other remuneration…. for treatment consisting of an immunisation for which no remuneration is payable by the CCG and which is requested in connection with travel abroad.’

The decision therefore rests with the practice. 

In some areas, local policy agreed with the LMC excludes NHS provision. The service must be provided either entirely as an NHS process or entirely as a private service.

As an NHS service

  • The practice would either prescribe the vaccination on an FP10 (or national equivalent) or (in England and Wales) provide the vaccine from purchased stock and claim reimbursement through the normal channels.
  • The practice must not charge the patient for administering the vaccine.
  • If a confirmatory certificate is requested by the patient, the practice may charge for this.
  • No charge can be made for simply recording immunisation details for the patient’s personal record.

As a private service

  • The practice may charge a registered patient for the vaccination. It can be provided on a private prescription, or the patient charged for the supply from practice stock.
  • Practices have to ensure their policy is non-discriminatory.