Spot Check: Travel Clinic

When you call the Travel Clinic, expect a recorded voice to answer. To get straight through to make an appointment, simply answer 'Yes' to the first question: 'Do you want to make or change an appointment?' and a human will pick up the phone. If you want to know more about vaccinations and/or the country you're going to, answer 'No' and you will be directed to the relevant information. Do not let this system put you off, it is actually quite helpful. Despite the fact that the clinic processes between 30 and 40 people a day, it's possible to arrange an appointment within 24 hours.

I arrived expecting to find a busy clinic full of hippies and screaming children, and was surprised to find it small but quiet, with wicker chairs and a cocktail lounge decor of pastel blue. While a doctor can be bleeped and in the clinic fairly quickly from the main hospital, the clinic is staffed by nurses only. Helen Brisbane, who saw me, was friendly and able to advise me on my chequered inoculation history. Being born and raised in Trinidad and having spent four years in Papua New Guinea, I was unsure of what jabs I'd had in the past and had lost all the records anyway. She consulted her manuals and told me about the outbreaks of disease in the places I'd lived - and assessed what jabs I'd probably been given. I explained that I was about to fly to Ghana and again she knew what the situation was out there. Yellow fever - a huge outbreak which had now spread into neighbouring countries.

In all, I was to have five jabs. Hepatitis A (in my bottom), polio (in a sugar cube), and tetanus, typhoid and yellow fever (in my left arm). I felt no pain, though my rear did seize up for about a day after the hepatitis shot. Jabs are approximately pounds 8 each, though my yellow fever was pounds 14. Some are more expensive, like rabies (pounds 15) and hepatitis B (pounds 30).

The clinic also gives good advice on malaria and a consultation, which will also include information on related medical problems and allergies, costs pounds 15. If you then buy a vaccine and/or malaria medication, the consultation is free.

By the exit you can buy industrial strength sunblock and extremely potent jungle-formula insect repellents that you can spray on or dilute in water. Mosquito nets, HIV prevention kits (starting at pounds 7.99) and water purifiers are also on sale, as well as nifty-looking adventure kits.

My trip to the clinic was an eye-opener. I arrived thinking I had seen it all. I left with a clear understanding that Africa is in a league of its own for potentially fatal tropical diseases.

In all, I was in the clinic for about 30 minutes, though a visit need be only 10 minutes in some cases.

The Travel Clinic, The Hospital For Tropical Diseases, 4 St Pancras Way, NW1 OPE (071- 388 9600).

Appointments only or call their Healthline for information only on 0839 337733.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
music
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
News
news
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
tv
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
News
Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
people
Extras
indybest
News
peopleLiam Williams posted photo of himself dressed as Wilfried Bony
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executives - Outbound & Inbound

    £7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

    Recruitment Genius: National Account Manager / Key Account Sales

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

    Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...

    Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Consultant

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...

    Day In a Page

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
    Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

    Marian Keyes

    The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

    Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

    Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
    Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

    Rodgers fights for his reputation

    Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
    Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

    Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

    'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
    Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick