Foreign Office Figures Reveal Increased Trouble for Brits Abroad

The number of British travellers being admitted to hospital, being arrested, or being the victim of crime in foreign countries is on the increase according to the British Behaviour Abroad survey, released by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The survey revealed that 10 Britons a day are admitted to foreign hospitals, with a total of 3,739 being treated last year. Majorca alone has seen an increase of 132 percent in hospitalised Brits over the past two years. Figures revealed that common causes of hospitalisation include heart attacks, balcony accidents, and car related accidents. A high percentage of these accidents were believed to be alcohol related, but there were no figures to substantiate this.

During last year, deaths of British travellers overseas increased by 4 percent, from 5,972 to 6,237.

127 rapes were reported last year, with Egypt and Turkey topping the sexual assaults league table with 24 and 23 reported cases respectively. Cases of lost or stolen passports were also on the increase, from 25,969 to 28,569.

It appears that British travellers are not always the victims though, with over 6,000 of them arrested in 2011/12, an increase of approximately 300 on the previous year. Drug related crimes were high on the charge sheets.

Although Spain, the US and France were the countries where consular assistance was sought most often last year, when numbers of incidents are rationalised against visitor numbers, France was the country where a British visitor was least likely to need consular assistance. This ratio revealed that the more exotic destinations of Thailand, Jamaica and Pakistan were towards the top of the list of countries where problems were more likely to be encountered, with the Philippines most likely of all.

The findings of the survey urged the Foreign Office to warn British travellers not to take risks overseas that could land them on the wrong side of the law, and to check the validity of their travel insurance.

Jeremy Browne, consular services minister, said, ‘We witness many cases where people have invalidated their policy, perhaps by not declaring a pre-existing medical condition or not checking their policy covers a particular activity, such as hiring a moped. Unfortunately they are then surprised that the Foreign Office cannot pay for their bills and flight home. I urge anyone heading overseas this summer to research their destination, take out comprehensive travel insurance, and carefully check the small print of their policy.’