6 ways to speed up a medical repatriation

6 ways to speed up

6 ways to speed up a medical repatriation

When you contact a company for a service, how quickly do they deliver it?

That’s an important consideration if you’re ordering a plumber, say, or a new kitchen. But if you’re trying to get a sick family member back home from another country for treatment, the question takes on a whole different order of magnitude.

Acting fast is a prerequisite for any medical transport. International repatriations are complex. They involve hundreds of interlocking tasks and communications. But they also need to move quickly. In a medical emergency, that can mean the difference between life and death.

Here are six key things a repatriation company can do to make the process run quickly.

1 Respond immediately

The company you choose should show they mean business from the get-go. That’s why EMS has a 24/7 global contact line for all enquiries. We want people to know they’ll get an immediate response – from an expert – as soon as they pick up the phone. To help with that, we have teams stationed in four different time zones around the world, from London (our international HQ) to the US and the Middle East. You can also talk to us by email, WhatsApp and iMessage – or even book a video call.

Read on: Repatriating a relative? Why communication is everything

2 Give a quick cost estimate

If you’re trying to repatriate someone in an emergency, the last thing you need is a long wait to find out how much your transport will cost. We’ve created an online form that makes the process much quicker. You simply enter your name, your patient’s details and the start / end points. It takes 1min to complete and we aim to return your estimate within 30mins. That way, you can make an informed decision and plan your next steps.

Read on: How do I book a medical repatriation?

3 Mobilise their teams

In medical repatriations, a full or part-payment of the transport fee usually acts as the green light for starting the journey. But your repatriation company should be mobilising its transport and medical teams before that even happens. Here at EMS, that means the ground transport teams will be preparing the ambulances for departure. The doctors will be in touch with the local hospital medics to get the latest info on your patient’s condition so we have exactly what we need for their journey. Our operations specialists will be staying in touch with you to provide updates and reassurance.

Read on: Behind the scenes with our ambulance expert

4 Calculate the optimum route

How your patient gets from A to B is one of the key questions at the start of the process. Much depends on their medical condition: are they conscious or unconscious? In need of supervision or intensive care inflight? Then it’s about choosing the optimum mode of transport. That could be a private jet from our network of air ambulances, or the next available flight on a commercial airline (with a Medical Escort). But not necessarily – a land journey by long-distance road ambulance avoids the need for airport transfers, check-ins and waiting times. We also use an advanced GPS system to pre-plan the vehicles’ optimum route.

Read on: EMS tech: a “flight radar system” for our road ambulances

5 “Go tarmac” at the airport

But if you are taking a flight, it’s important to remove as many obstacles from the transfer process as possible. On a basic level, we do that by handling everything for you: booking tickets, informing the airport authorities of your situation, handling luggage check-ins and taking your patient to the aircraft (by stretcher or wheelchair, if necessary). But we often speed things up even further by “going tarmac” – this means getting clearance to drive right up to the steps of the aircraft itself. It’s far more direct.

Read on: Getting you home: how do airport transfers work?

6 Secure a hospital bed in advance

If you’re taking your patient to a hospital or clinic, their journey doesn’t stop at the doors of the A&E department. You need to know the local doctors are ready and that a bed is waiting for them on arrival. EMS is a proudly “bed-to-bed” repatriation company, which means we secure your patient’s hospital bed as part of the transport. Once it’s secured, we’ll stay in touch with the hospital to update them on our progress and ETA. If for any reason the bed isn’t there as expected, our team won’t leave until they’re satisfied that one is being prepared for your patient.

Read on: Can you secure a hospital bed for us?

What customers say about EMS’s speed of service

Here at EMS, we’re proud to say that we’re one of the fastest international repatriation companies in the world. We can mobilise our teams within minutes and get them to your patient within hours. But don’t just take our word for it!

“Having changed the plan late on the Saturday evening, EMS managed to arrange the air ambulance super-fast, so that they collected my father by 12 noon on Sunday, by 2.30pm he was on the plane, and he was safely in a London hospital, close to home and his family, later that same afternoon. I can't thank EMS enough for the incredible service they provided.”


“Despite many problems that occurred in the airport (the airline didn’t inform the airport about the injured passenger), the ambulance crew members were fast to react and ensured that the patient got to her flight in time. If it wasn’t for their support and extreme professionalism my friend wouldn’t get to her home country safely.”


“The communication was clear, fast, very friendly and just exactly what you need in difficult times. My mother and father were transported home within three days and they were so happy.”


“Super-fast response and response time.”


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