Travel health is a complex and challenging area of practice, but it can be a particularly rewarding one. Basic travel health advice is one of the essential services that a general practice is contracted to provide, and it is funded by the global sum of the General Medical Services contract, rather than through the Quality and Outcomes Framework. 1 This article discusses a traveller with a complex itinerary and suggests a process of pre-travel assessment that can be successfully used with any traveller.
The risk assessment
The Royal College of Nursing competencies state that 'the nurse is responsible for undertaking and evaluating the risk assessment, and thoroughly documenting it in a professional manner and keeping records secure'.2
Mr D visited his practice nurse before a forthcoming trip. A risk assessment was performed using the practice's paper proforma, which was then scanned into his computer records to provide a permanent record.
In order for the practice nurse to assess the travel-related health risks Mr D may face, it is essential to have a detailed breakdown of the travel itinerary. This includes not only the countries to be visited, but also the areas in each country. Once this had been ascertained, a database was used to identify the risks within each area (e.g. to determine malaria risk areas). This takes time, but is essential for an appropriate assessment.