Before you go

Information Standard

If a young person or child has to travel abroad for proton beam therapy, NHS England recommends you use this checklist to make sure you have everything ready.

Parent's checklist

  • Passports up to date with six months travel time remaining?
  • Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) visa completed at least 72 hours before departure (USA only)?
  • European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) (Europe only)?
  • Flight arrangements confirmed?
  • Travel insurance confirmed?
  • Three-month supply of all regularly prescribed medications?
  • Any documentation or correspondence that contains information about your proton beam therapy treatment and accommodation details (copies of such correspondence or confirmation may be required by Customs and Immigration or Passport Control)?
  • Driving licence (photocard and paper counterpart) if planning to drive? 
    If you are travelling to the USA and intend to drive, make sure you get an International Driving Permit - you can buy one of these from the Post Office).
  • Travel adapters for electrical items?
  • If you are travelling with a small child, do you need a car seat? You should liaise with USA treatment centres as they organise them for many families.
  • Have you notified your local NHS trust or arranged a supply of any special dietary requirements such as baby formula during your stay abroad?
  • Have you notified your local NHS trust if you or your family has been exposed to any illnesses in the last two months, such as chicken pox?
  • If a young person or child needs a feeding pump, or has a tracheostomy, have you checked that the proton centre’s equipment is compatible?
  • If you need to carry more than 100ml of liquids on the flight (such as liquid foods or medicines) have you got a letter from your child’s consultant that states this is for medical reasons? (Your local NHS trust can give you further advice about travelling with any medicines or medical equipment.)
  • Have you informed your bank that you are staying abroad?
  • Have you changed an appropriate amount of money? Exchanging money in the USA can be difficult, so if you are travelling there for proton beam therapy, make sure you exchange money in the UK.

Top tips

We asked young people and parents of children who have travelled abroad for proton beam therapy for their top tips – here’s what they told us.

  • Before you go, try to make contact with another UK family who has experienced proton beam therapy via the Facebook support group, your CLIC Sargent Social Worker or your radiographer
  • Don’t do it on your own! Involve family and friends, and have them stay with you if possible.
  • Don’t take electrical items like hairdryers to the USA with you, as the power output is weaker than in the UK. These can be bought cheaply at local shops.
  • If you are flying, make sure you have plenty of time between flight transfers, or stay overnight and get a connecting flight the following morning
  • Be prepared for long immigration queues when arriving in the USA
  • Ask friends and family to help with fundraising to cover living costs and any loss of income while you are away
  • Attend as many social events for families as possible at the proton centre to make contacts and help you feel at ease
  • Make contact with the proton centre via email before you leave if there are any specific questions that your doctor in the UK can’t answer
  • If you are using a hire car in the USA, ask the proton centre if they have satnavs you can borrow or buy one out there – it may work out cheaper than hiring one
  • Make sure you install Skype on your phone, iPad or laptop before you go and ask your friends and family at home to install it too - it’s a good way to stay in touch
  • If you are travelling to the USA, buy a pre-pay phone as soon as you get there – it’s cheaper and you’ll need it to stay in touch with the proton centre
  • Keep correspondence containing information about your accommodation with you – it may be useful at customs and immigration.

July 2013, next planned review 2014.