Providing a Travel Medicines Service

cathy-omalley-pictureBy Cathy O’Malley RGN, Dip Trav Med, MFTM RCPS (Glasg), Travel Health Specialist Nurse, Member of the Faculty of Travel Medicine Education board RCPSG

65.7 million UK residents travelled abroad in 2015; a substantial growth on previous years, with more people seeking travel health advice from community pharmacists.

So what does providing a travel medicine service entail?

A risk assessment should be performed; gathering detailed information about the trip and traveller. RCN guidance; Travel Health Nursing 2 lists questions to ask and recommends using this information to tailor advice to the individual. It is vital to use a comprehensive database for information on travel associated risks eg NaTHNaC or TRAVAX. Travellers may require vaccines and prevention advice. Immunisation against infectious disease – contains guidance on vaccines, contraindications and schedules. Some travellers will require malaria advice: Awareness of risk, Bite avoidance, Chemoprophylaxis and the importance of prompt Diagnosis. The PHE 2015 Guidelines for malaria prevention in Travellers from the UK are an extremely useful resource. Pharmacists may be experienced advising on sun protection and bite avoidance; however it is important to develop knowledge.

Pharmacists may be experienced advising on sun protection and bite avoidance; however it is important to develop knowledge on a range of topics such as Zika virus, rabies post-exposure management and advising the complex traveller.

What training is recommended for Travel Health advisors?

A two day introduction to Travel Health course (minimum of 15 hours relevant learning) plus mentorship should be completed before undertaking a travel consultation alone. Practitioners should attend an annual update4. Pharmacists may consider the Foundation in Travel Medicine/Diploma in Travel Medicine courses.

The RPS and the Faculty of Travel of Travel Medicine are holding a joint travel medicines symposium on 18th March 2017.

What to expect

  • An exciting opportunity to hear the latest news and updates from Travel Medicine Specialists and a chance to network with other health professionals. Professor Peter Chiodini (Consultant Parasitologist & PHE Director of the Malaria Reference Laboratory) & Jane Chiodini (Travel Health Nurse Specialist & Director of Education, Faculty of Travel Medicine) will present on the latest changes to Malaria
    prevention advice.
  • Pharmacist Jan Jones will talk about the highs and lows of providing a travel medicine service in the commercial world and Pharmacist Fiona Mara on advising those travelling with medications.
  • Sarah Lang (Immunisation Nurse Specialist) will present on common challenges in Vaccine administration.

Places are limited, book now to avoid disappointment.

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