Identification emblems

In the event of a medical emergency or an accident, identification emblems can provide essential information about hidden medical conditions.

A number of companies provide internationally-recognised identification emblems and medical alert jewellery. Some companies also provide secure storage of your condition and medication so that it can be accessed by healthcare personnel in the event of an emergency.

Patients on hydrocortisone replacement should also carry a Blue Steroid Card (available from your GP or pharmacy).

MedicAlert Foundation

For a fee from £19.95, MedicAlert will register patients and issue them with MedicAlert jewellery, such as a bracelet or necklace. An annual fee of £30 then ensures details are kept up to date and gives the continued backup of the 24-hour emergency telephone bureau. The MedicAlert jewellery carries the internationally recognised MedicAlert symbol and is engraved on the reverse with the member's condition, personal identification number, and their 24-hour emergency telephone number. If you rely on drugs, have allergies etc, this service could make a real difference if you are involved in an accident, particularly if you are unconscious.

MedicAlert has over 240,000 members and is the only Registered Charity providing life-saving ID jewellery and a 24-hour emergency line. For more information, call Customer Services on 01908 951045, email info@medicalert.org.uk or visit their comprehensive website at www.medicalert.org.uk

If you take hydrocortisone, the following text is generally acceptable to be used on your MedicAlert jewellery: “STEROID DEPENDENT REQUIRES HYDROCORTISONE” . We do advise that individual patients should discuss this with their own endocrinologist, as you may also need details of any other deficiencies or problems.

(Is your MedicAlert jewellery out of date? It might be worth checking that the 24-hour emergency telephone line number, engraved on the back of your MedicAlert jewellery is not out of date. When the London telephone numbers changed, MedicAlert updated all their MedicAlert jewellery for free but not everyone applied for this update. If it bears the old 0171 number, then you should contact MedicAlert.)

Medi-Tag

Medi-Tag provides personalised lifesaving medical ID pendants, bracelets, watches and wristbands with optional membership to an International 24-hour Emergency Telephone Service operated by the NHS Trust. In addition to information engraved on your Medi-Tag jewellery, membership lets you store extra personal and medical details on a secure online Medi-Tag ICE Register, and it is now possible for members to edit their own information instantly.

The Medi-Tag jewellery is recognised worldwide by the international medical symbol. In the event of a medical emergency or an accident, the Medi-Tag can provide vital information to medical professionals, thereby assisting diagnosis, speeding up treatment and helping to save lives. The range is suitable for people of all ages and has been specially designed for people with hidden medical conditions. Prices start at £45.00, which includes free engraving with your important information and free 1st year of membership if you want to subscribe to the International 24-hour emergency telephone service. The annual membership subscription is just £20.00 after your free 1st year. Orders can be made online or through a mail-order brochure. For more information, telephone 0121 200 1616 or visit their website www.medi-tag.co.uk

Press Don't Panic

The Press Don't Panic® audio button is one of the most advanced forms of medical ID available on the market. It is a small, highly visible, clearly medical, audio device which communicates vital information in a medical emergency - at the press of a button.

The device allows the wearer to record a personal message containing emergency procedure and/or essential medical information, in any language. This can then be played back whenever the wearer requires assistance. Playback can be initiated by the wearer or by those offering assistance.

For more information, telephone 01721 730 311 or visit their website at www.pressdontpanic.com

SOS Talisman

The SOS Talisman provides vital information about the wearer in case of an accident of illness. Information, such as medical conditions and prescribed medication, blood group and who to contact in an emergency, is detailed on an information strip of non-soluble paper that is securely contained in the SOS Talisman capsule. The information is available for on-the-spot identification.

The information strip headings are in six different languages and the SOS Talisman symbol is recognised by emergency staff, both in the UK and abroad. The SOS Talisman capsule is water-tight and heat resistant so the information is protected at all times.

For more information visit www.medical-bracelets.co.uk

Universal Medical ID (UK)

Universal Medical ID features custom-engraved medical indentification bracelets and necklaces. Information about medical conditions, drug and food allergies, prescribed medication and emergency contacts can be engraved onto your chosen identification jewellery item.

Starting from £19.95, jewellery is available in stainless steel, silver, gold and titanium. There is no annual membership required.

For further information, telephone 0800 055 6504 or visit their website www.universalmedicalid.co.uk

UTAG

UTAG utilises the latest USB electronic data storage, in a style that is highly visible. It clearly displays the international medical symbol (the snake and staff) and the letters "ICE" (an acronym for "In Case of Emergency" recognised by Emergency Services). Options include dogtags, sports bracelets and a credit card-sized emergency card, prices start from £24.99.

But UTAG is for more than just medical emergencies. The addition of a "private folder" means that the wearer of the UTAG now has the ability to carry vital documents such as passport, driving licence, insurance etc in a secure way. It utilises encryption technology that means any files saved can only be accessed using the owner's own personally chosen password.

When travelling abroad, the UTAG wearer can have the comfort of having any emergency information available in any of seven European languages and hold secure copies of essential documentation. For more information visit their website UTAG