Repatriation Stories: Malta to London

The term ‘medical repatriation’ sounds quite clinical, but behind every transport there is a different story, and behind those stories there are real people. As we, at EMS get to know the people we help and learn about their stories, our job becomes personal – every time. This Repatriation Story is one of many we could share.

Location: Gozo, Malta – Destination: London, Gatwick – Distance: 1263 miles – Time: 31h

Repatriation stories malta to london

The Situation

John and Mary [not real names] were holidaying in Malta over the winter when John suffered a bleed on his brain. He was taken to a local hospital on the island of Gozo for treatment. While in hospital he contracted a chest infection. His condition worsened and his family wanted to repatriate him to the UK as soon as possible so he could receive better care.

John’s family came to EMS, after having been let down by another repatriation company who after taking a week to make arrangements, upon arrival in Malta refused to carry out the repatriation. John’s condition was critical by this point. The family were devastated having lost so much time, as well as money.

The Challenge

John’s case was urgent and repatriation by this point was a matter of life and death. A dedicated air ambulance was the best and fastest way to bring him home. But there was a problem: the plane could not land on Gozo, and had to fly in to the airport on Malta. It takes a ferry to cross from one island to the other. So not only did the repatriation include an air ambulance, it also required an ambulance on the ground, as well as ferry crossing, and time was of the essence.

The Repatriation

Within the next 2 hours, EMS made all the necessary arrangements, securing a private air ambulance and arranging a flight plan to Malta Airport. The medical team flew out the next day and drove a road ambulance to the hospital on Gozo. They arrived 24 hours after the family had made contact with EMS. John’s condition had deteriorated even more. Over the years, the EMS team have repatriated hundreds of patients, many of them in critical condition. Their experience enabled them to bring John back safely, first from the hospital on Gozo, to the airport on Malta, and on to England, to a hospital in London, where he was able to start recovering near his family.

In all, John’s repatriation from Gozo to Gatwick took 5.30 hours, and required a team of two medical professionals, a doctor and an advanced paramedic.


If you find yourself in a medical situation abroad and want to return home, please don’t hesitate to contact us – even if it’s just to talk through what’s possible. We are here to help.

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