Health

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 29 March 2019, access to healthcare for British nationals travelling or living in the EU, European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland is likely to change. More information about healthcare for UK nationals living in and visiting Portugal is available on the NHS website.

You should still get a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK. UK-issued EHICs will remain valid until 29 March 2019 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

The EHIC entitles you to state provided medical treatment that may become necessary during your trip. Any treatment provided is on the same terms as Portuguese nationals. If you don’t have your EHIC with you or you’ve lost it, you can call the Department of Health Overseas Healthcare Team (+44 191 218 1999) to get a Provisional Replacement Certificate.

The UK government has or is seeking agreements with countries on healthcare arrangements for UK nationals after 29 March 2019. The NHS website and this travel advice will be updated with further information on travelling to Portugal as the circumstances change.

Whether you’re travelling before or after 29 March, it is important to take out comprehensive travel insurance that includes cover for emergency medical treatment and associated costs. The existing EHIC arrangements are not an alternative to travel insurance, as some health-related costs, including for medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment and non-urgent treatment, are not covered. Read more about what your travel insurance should cover.

If you’re living in Portugal, you can also find more information on healthcare for residents in our Living In Portugal guide.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 112 and ask for an ambulance. If you are referred to a medical facility for treatment you should contact your insurance/medical assistance company immediately.

If you feel unwell seek medical attention or contact the Portuguese health service’s website or call them for advice on 808 24 24 24 (local number and information in Portuguese only).