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Tourists: Illness

Volume 486: debated on Monday 19 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many British citizens have died while on holiday overseas in each of the last five years; and how many died in each EU member state in each such year. (243773)

Given the volume of information, I will write to the hon. Member and place a copy in the Library of the House.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received from UK organisations on the provision of health care for British citizens who are taken ill while on holiday overseas. (243774)

[holding answer 15 December 2008]: We have received no representations from UK organisations on the provision of health care for British citizens taken ill while on holiday overseas.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what support his Department has put in place to support the families of those whose relatives (a) are taken ill and (b) die while on holiday overseas. (243775)

[holding answer 15 December 2008]: Consular staff in London, and around the world, can offer advice and support to the families of those whose relatives are either taken ill or die while they are overseas. In the case of illness or injury, with the individuals’ permission, we can inform family and friends when a British national has been hospitalised, keep them up to date with developments and help transfer money from friends or relatives in the UK to meet any necessary costs.

In the event of a death overseas, we ask the UK police to contact the next of kin as soon as possible. Consular staff do their best to ensure that the family’s wishes are carried out, for example, regarding burial, cremation or bringing the body home. We can put the family in touch with local lawyers and local and international funeral directors. As with hospitalisation, we cannot pay expenses, but can help transfer money from friends or relatives in the UK.

If the death occurred under suspicious circumstances, we can assist the family in dealing with the local police—and staff are available to meet family representatives in London. When there is an ongoing investigation overseas, we can ask a local UK police force to consider providing a family liaison officer, who advises and helps the family in dealing with the investigation.