We have recently dealt with holidaymakers who returned from Egypt with confirmed E-Coli 0157. The holiday complaints that have given rise to their holiday illness claims continues to surprise us, given the so called 'improvements' in the health and safety in holiday properties!
However, it is the blatant advices given by one tour representative (who had 3 years experience), on the question of medicine administration, that causes us some concern.
We often hear how representatives relate the holidaymakers experiences of their illness to various conditions, such as, 'a virus on the island', 'brought in by holidaymakers', 'pharoahs revenge', 'dehab dash', 'montezumas revenge', 'too much sun', 'too much drink', and so it goes on, you get my drift!
This particular representative advised the holidaymakers - at the welcome meeting - (regular readers will no doubt pick up on my less than subtle hint that there was a clear pre-knowledge of illness - why the detailed advices?), that they should not self medicate with immodium, rather they should purchase particular antibiotics from the local pharmacy!
I was not aware that tour companies were now employing pharmacists as tour representatives!
Despite our own knowledge of these issues, and the dubious practices of some resort 'doctors' where holiday illnesses arise, it is important to note that these concerns are not new, and a wider concern expressed, is that drugs purchased are not freely available in developed countries.
Take a look at this BBC news report where comment was provided about a drugs freely available for purchase in Egypt, and other countries, such as Streptoquin (noting that this drug was banned in many countries). Some of you will say, this was a report in 2000, OK, have a look at these!
Look at the posts on the Holiday Truths forum dated 23 August 2006. Both are made by nurses, the comments speak for themselves. Follow that with the comments made by Phill104(21/9/2007) on the Streptoquin issue, and note that he provides good advice on the NHS direct service!
What is surprising about these posts, is how many people are willing to put up with holiday illnesses without doing something about it and how they often get shouted down, by the apologists for resorts or tour companies.
These are real issues for concern. Resort Reps should stick to what they know and report deficits in health and safety!
They should not be providing medical advices beyond 'go and see a doctor' etc.
The consequences for any tour company are dire should a holidaymaker have an adverse reaction to a 'recommended' drug!
The cynics amongst us might state the real reason for these medical advices, is to 'mask' the identity of an illness behind an antibiotic, in order to water down any potential holiday poisoning claim! As the practice of denial of a problem, or the provision of a 'recommendation' on medicines is fairly widespread, it would be interesting to know whether such practices form part of the overall 'risk management' training provided by tour companies?
Perhaps ex-reps would like to share their views on this point?