How medical repatriation works: a really simple timeline

How exactly do international medical transports work?

If the whole idea feels completely confusing and daunting, don’t worry – you’re not alone!

How medical repatriation works: a really simple timeline

Medical repatriation is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most of us. You’ve almost certainly never done something like this before, and hopefully you won’t need to again. No wonder it feels complicated.

One way to simplify things is to visualise the whole process in overview, as a timeline. Here’s how EMS Air Ambulance & Medical Repatriation would present it: a simple, seven-step guide to medical transports.


Request a quote

Step one is to tell us where your patient is and where they need to go. Then we can create a quick cost estimate for you. To do that, just head to our online calculator and type in your starting point, destination and contacts. You’ll soon receive an email with rough estimates for road ambulance, air ambulance and medical escort options. If you prefer to speak to us instead, simply call, WhatsApp or email – we’re available 24/7.

Talk to a specialist

If you use the calculator, an EMS repatriation specialist will follow up by phone ASAP. They’ll explain the process and answer your questions. They’ll also ask you more about your patient, including their condition and who else needs to travel. If you need to get your patient to a foreign hospital for treatment, we can help you with hospital and clinic recommendations too.

Accept the quote

Next, we’ll send you a full costing for the journey. If you’re happy to go ahead, just click the weblink to sign and accept the quote, then make your payment. This acts as our green light for activating the case, preparing flights and transfers, and sending a team to your patient’s home or hospital. We can normally do this within 24 to 48 hours.

Wait for the confirmations

EMS takes care of all travel details: paperwork, logistics, connections, liaising with local doctors, etc. Once our medical team reaches your patient, they’ll do an assessment to confirm they’re fit to transport. Over the following hours, you’ll also receive an Order Confirmation for the journey, confirmed bed arrangements (if we’re taking your patient to a hospital) and a travel itinerary outlining the route, flights and timings of your medical transport.

Send us some details

While you’re waiting for the transport to start, you can help us by sending some key details and documents. We’ll need copies of your passports, resident permit or visas (as applicable), and we’ll ask you for some physical details about your patient (their height, weight, etc, if you know them). You can also let us know your food and drink preferences for the journey, and what luggage you need to take with you. (See also “I’m about to contact you: what details will EMS need from me?”.)

Watch for updates

If can’t travel with your patient, EMS will send you (or your key contact person) regular updates during the journey. The team will let you know when they’re leaving the foreign hospital, how your patient is doing as they travel, and when they’re nearing the final destination.

Keep in touch

If we’re taking your patient to a hospital or treatment facility, our medical team will carry out a detailed handover with the local doctors and nurses. You’ll also receive a copy of our Medical Transport Report, which contains details about your patient’s vital signs and medical situation during the journey. After a few days, we’ll contact you again to see how your patient is doing, and whether you need any other help or advice.

Contact us

Are you thinking about a medical transport for a loved one but not quite sure where to start? Drop EMS Air Ambulance & Medical Repatriation a line any time, day or night, and we’ll be really happy to explain how repatriation works and how we might be able to assist you. You can find all our contact details on our website. Wherever you are and whatever you need, we’ll be keen to help if we can.

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