Last updated: 25 May 2011. The volcanic ash cloud situation caused by Iceland’s Grimsvotn volcano in Vatnajokull National Park has once again caused travel disruptions.

Long delays are affecting people with health conditions such as diabetes as they require medication and are facing medication shortages at their stranded location.

The following is a guide to what you can do if you, a family member or friend is stranded abroad and in particular, are facing medication shortages.

Should you need medication

  • Should you be a British national stranded abroad and you are running out of medication, you can check if any is available at your local pharmacy, or go to a local hospital or doctor.

Should you need a hospital or a doctor

  • You can visit the website of the British Embassy to enable you to find a hospital or doctor
  • Should you have a number, phone your local embassy for further advice.
    You ought to call the British Embassy if you have been admitted to hospital.
    British nationals stranded overseas can contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice line on +44 20 7008 0000 for more information.
  • The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers is able to provide names of English-speaking healthcare professionals in the country you in and is able to advice travellers.
  • You can also contact the closest British Embassy or local medical schools for lists of English-speaking doctors.

Retain receipts

Should you have to pay for prescription medicines or other medical treatment, retain any receipts for possible reimbursement in case your travel insurance provider is able to reimburse you when you return home.

Latest travel news

  • If you are concerned about the safety of a British national stranded abroad, you can phone a Foreign Office helpline on 020 7008 0000, or go to its website at
  • All flights bar a few are grounded today due to the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud. It has been confirmed that British flight restrictions are to continue until 1pm on Tuesday.
  • You can go to the British air traffic control service for up to date information.
  • Some flights are operating into Scotland.
  • London is considering using Spanish airports, which are now open, as a ‘hub’, for flights coming from African, Asia and America.

Upon getting to Europen, passengers can then use other transport services like coach, train and ferry to get home.

Eurostar, ferry and coach services have also all been increased to help passengers unable to fly. Forecasters are predicting that the disruption is most likely to continue into next week.

People with diabetes stranded abroad

Should you have diabetes (or are on medication that is depleting) and are stranded abroad, you need to get in touch with your GP and your travel insurance company.

  • It is also imperative to contact your airline or your tour operator. You may be given priority booking due to your health condition.

Rights if your flight is cancelled

Under European regulations, airlines are under no obligation to pay compensation should they be able to prove that the cancellation was due to ‘extraordinary circumstances’ which were unavoidable, even if all reasonable measures had been taken.

According to EU legislation, should you have been at the airport when your flight was cancelled, you may be entitled to refreshments, meals, appropriate telephone calls, hotel accommodation and transport to and from the hotel.

Should you have booked two single tickets, as opposed to a return ticket, the same EU rules may still apply. So you should be entitled to meals and accommodation until alternative transport home can be arranged.

Can I claim on my travel insurance?

You can claim on your travel insurance depending on what kind of insurance policy you have.
Certain policies offer cancellation cover for natural disasters.

However, others exclude what they refer to as ‘acts of god’. Hence, you need to carefully check your contract terms and conditions. Your airline is likely to refund you for any cancelled flights Yet you may also need your insurance company to pay out for additional non-refundable bookings like accommodation and car hire.

Defaqto, the financial research company, is urging that you urgently contact your insurer and find out what cover you are entitled to.

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