Worrying misconceptions regarding support from the UK government in the event of a medical emergency are revealed in a new Opinium survey of 501 UK-based business travellers, commissioned by World Travel Protection, a leading global travel risk management organisation.
If involved in a personal medical emergency, two thirds (66%) naively think the local UK embassy, of the country in which they are working, would help to arrange emergency medical treatment, and over half (57%) mistakenly believe the UK government would pay to get them home.
With the news dominated by the terrible scenes in Sudan, World Travel Protection warns that UK nationals must not assume that because the government has helped in Sudan it may help in another crisis.
Kate Fitzpatrick, Regional Security Director, EMEA, at World Travel Protection, said: “There’s no guarantee the UK government will repatriate you in an emergency. For the government to step in, it will generally have to be a catastrophic, large-scale situation and the level of support will depend on many factors, including who you are, where you are and what you were doing.
“Evacuating civilians from crisis situations, like Sudan, is dangerous and complex. Security personnel will be asking many questions including can we get the airspace needed, what is the security situation, will the aircraft be a potential target for shooting down, will other lives be put at risk and so on?
“These are life and death issues and will not be taken lightly by any government.”
As well as the UK government, business travellers also have faith in their employer in an emergency. Seven in ten (71%) say their organisation’s travel and medical insurance covers them when travelling and almost three quarters (73%) say their company would repatriate or evacuate them, if needed.
However, business travellers do also take personal responsibility for their trips with almost three quarters (74%) researching the risks and threats of the destination they are visiting.
Kate Fitzpatrick, continues, “Business travellers clearly appreciate there are risks with business travel and yet, worryingly, they’ve got a misguided faith that the UK government would provide financial support in an emergency. They’re far more likely to get the necessary support required from their employer, and we would always urge people to actively engage with their employers regarding the details of insurance cover and support mechanisms in place, prior to travelling abroad for business.
Kate comments “For instance, ideally your insurance policy would work in unison with a travel risk assistance company providing information, knowledge and expertise to help you prepare for travel, as well as supporting you while you’re away. In the event of an emergency, our travellers are able to press an alert button on their mobile to access instant medical and security help from our 24/7 global Command Centres to ensure travellers caught up in a hostile environment are helped to safety.”