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Don't forget your European Health Insurance Card if you are off to Normandy


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From experience I wanted to mention to anyone travelling to Europe, perhaps for Normandy or Arnhem anniversaries in a few weeks, that you should have an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you and one for the rest of the family too. This card replaces the old Form E111 and the new card lasts 5 years from issue.


Last year on a battlefield tour of the Western Front I badly slashed my hand down to the tendons and went to French A&E in Doullens. Once they saw my EHIC and passport I had my hand operated on and stitched up. I did not have to pay anything at the time but once I was home in the UK I got a letter in French from the hospital asking for a portion of the cost; about €40 in my case.


This invoice needs to be paid by getting a Euro draft from your bank and posting it off - but the cost can then be refunded by the UK Government, from an office in Newcastle (except the bank charges!). To get a refund you call Newcastle on the number on the card and they will send you an application for a refund.


BTW - don't ignore the letter from the hospital other wise they will send another and add penalty interest to the original sum!


In view of the fact that the sum is refunded when you are back home, the cost is understandably not covered under your travel insurance. EHIC will not cover any private medical healthcare or costs such as being flownback to the UK, or lost or stolen property. Therefore, it is important to have both an EHIC and a valid private travel insurance policy. Some insurers now insist you hold an EHIC and many will waive the excess if you have one.


When applying for an EHIC only do so through the official Government site as other rogue sites charge you for what is issued free. Getting a card issued takes about 7 days, so there is still time!


Lastly - thanks to the wonderful care I received at Doullens Hospital in France - I was seen immediately (and I mean immediately unlike the UK) and operated on shortly afterwards! As I was still in France when the stiches needed to come out 10 days later I went back to A&E in Doullens to find out which part of the hospital to attend to get the stiches out and they said no problem, we're quiet so we will do that for you now!

Edited by LarryH57
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When she saw you I bet she wanted to go sick:D


I'd have mopped her brow anytime!:D Also do remeber to inform the vehicle insurance company the dates you are away, most don't insit now, but worth doing to make sure. A First Aid is obligatory in France, make sure you know how to use it! I add a small Re Hydration spoon, it measure the correct amount of salt and sugar into a litre of water, useful if you get to much sun, or the drewaded trots.

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Apart from first aid kits the French also want drivers to have their high visibility jacket within easy reach when driving and I think a set of spare bulbs is also a must. I have been told recently by a French colleague that the requirement to have a breathalyser kit is still undecided in France but I carry one anyway, as knowing my luck they would change the law half way through my trip!

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If you get over the fact it is the French. Carrying spare bulbs and Hi Vis for breackdown, Hi vis must be put on before getting out of car, warning triangles and fire extingusher , first aid kit, is sensible. (Take out= an extra 4 mpg:D)

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