Ex-pat Brit returning home: Like me, my father has... - NRAS


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Ex-pat Brit returning home

angel_a38 profile image
13 Replies

Like me, my father has Rheumatoid Disease. He lives in the South of France at the moment and takes Methotrexate and Humira. He is coming back to the UK (to live) in spring as he is concerned about the . He is concerned that he will not be prescribed Humira as it is rather expensive. Has anyone had an experience of this? Do the UK Doctors take note of the medication someone was on in another country or will he have to start from scratch on the medication route, I.E. taking Methotrexate and if it doesn't work alone then being prescribed Humira or even another medication?

13 Replies
3LittleBirds2 profile image

Hi, I’m no help I’m afraid as I’ve no idea, but you’d like to think if the medication is available in the UK..(which it is ?) and is working for him that he would be kept on it..less hassle for everyone all round?! Good luck 😊

angel_a38 profile image
angel_a38 in reply to 3LittleBirds2

Let's hope so, thank you for your reply.

helixhelix profile image

In theory they should, as it wouldn't be ethical not to. However its possible he will be asked to change to the biosimilar of Humira which is what is now being prescribed in the UK. It would be my fear too, as I live in France and have had good medical treatment, and would worry about having to rely on the NHS now. But I have no intention of returning!

The biggest issue I think he will face is getting into the system so he doesn't have a break in supply of drugs. He needs to talk to his specialist and pharmacy about what they will supply for him to take with him. It may only be a month's supply even if he has a prescription for longer.

Does he know where he will live, and can he make contact with the GP's surgery that he will register with to see if they can start the referral process in advance? Otherwise he could face several months without drugs - not even methotrexate. As GPs can be reluctant to prescribe without direction from a specialist.

He also needs to make sure he has his notes, scans, x-rays and blood test results - which he probably has being in France. And translate a short summary of his medical history, especially if he was diagnosed in France. If he was diagnosed in the UK then maybe needs to track down those notes.

Returning to the UK seems a bit incomprehensible to me....but if that's what he wants.

angel_a38 profile image
angel_a38 in reply to helixhelix


Thank you very much for your comprehensive reply there is some very useful information in your answer.

I will be registering my Dad (who is 80 next year) with my own G.P.

He has a good relationship with his Rheumatologist so I'm sure he will be able to get all the documentation he needs together with a final prescription.

He has decided to come back because of his age but is concerned about Brexit as he is a remain supporter.

I may get in touch with Age UK to see if they can offer any advice.

With regards to Humira I have read that it no longer has a patent so will be much cheaper.

Once again thank you very much, there are a lot of points you have brought up that I didn't think of.

helixhelix profile image
helixhelix in reply to angel_a38

The thing you need to think about in advance is what you do if he is offered the biosimilar, Imraldi, rather than the original Humira. This is cheaper for the NHS so doctors are being encouraged to prescribe this instead. However, it is not like generic drugs that are identical to the original drug. Although it is a close match it is not identical, only similar.

For most people this isn't an issue, but some it is as it doesn't work as well. If your father has had a long or difficult journey to get controlled on Humira you may want to argue your case not to change it.

This may not happen, and I am not trying to alarm you. But just encourage you to think through your response if it does happen.

The other thing I've just thought of is that prescriptions issued in one EU country are valid in another for most drugs. However I'm not sure whether methotrexate and humira would be included or not - especially humira as it's an exceptional drug. But could be worth looking in to.

angel_a38 profile image
angel_a38 in reply to helixhelix

Thank you for the information. I'm extremely grateful to everyone for their answers. He is also concerned whether a nurse will come to his home and inject him, he gets this service in France and I'm sure he would've got that in the UK a few years ago. Not so sure now, perhaps he will need to learn to inject himself.

helixhelix profile image
helixhelix in reply to angel_a38

Hmmm....doubt it! At the hospital I used to go to in the UK they have a weekly clinic if you aren't able to do it yourself. But you have to get to the hospital under your own steam - no transport provided like in France. But I've not heard of anyone getting a nurse at home in the UK! He'll be in for a bit of a shock I'm afraid.

The injections are very easy, perhaps between now and when he returns he needs to ask the nurse to help teach him how to do it?

Barrister profile image

I don’t know about the rest of the U.K. but here in Cambridge, every time I go to Addenbrookes, I am asked if I have lived in the U.K. for the last 12 months so your father might find that he won’t be covered by the NHS for a time. I don’t know for sure, just pointing out what is happening here.


helixhelix profile image
helixhelix in reply to Barrister

If he is in receipt of his state pension then he is covered. My OH's letter when his pension started last year said that he was now eligible for NHS care again should he return to the UK. It is a small benefit from having paid NI all your life...

angel_a38 profile image
angel_a38 in reply to helixhelix

Yes he is in receipt of state pension so hopefully he will be ok.

He will have paid NI from the age of 18 to 60.


You might find information on this link helpful - it was updated 6 days ago so it's the government's latest advice, including the government's preparations for British nationals returning to the UK.

I also transferred hospitals from one trust to another and nothing changed - just continued taking same meds.

Good luck


helixhelix profile image
helixhelix in reply to

The words chocolate teapot come to mind.....

angel_a38 profile image
angel_a38 in reply to

Hi thanks for that I'll have a read of it tonight.

I think I need to speak to my GP as well.

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