Repatriating a relative? Why communication is everything

Last week, a customer sent us some helpful feedback on her EMS experience.

Her mother, who is 79, had recently fallen ill in the south of France – so the family asked EMS to repatriate her to the UK as quickly as possible. One of the things that had made all the difference during the journey, our customer explained, was the communication:

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“Any questions I had, I sent on a WhatsApp group [that EMS] set up and they were answered within minutes and when I was having problems with the hospital I asked for an urgent call from their doctor and received one within minutes,” she reflected, writing on our Google Reviews page.

“When things are worrying you, a speedy response makes all the difference, no[t] sitting around watching and waiting for your phone to ping…”

We think this is exactly right. Whoever you choose to carry out a medical repatriation, excellent communication should be one of their highest priorities. What does that look like in practice? Here are three elements we think are vital:


Is it really easy to contact the repatriation company you’re planning to use? It should be! Here at EMS Air Ambulance & Medical Repatriation, we want customers to know they can speak to us however suits them best – so we offer a range of ways to get in touch:

  • Telephone – an international hotline that takes you straight to our repatriation specialists (or local country numbers for NL, GB, US, DE, ES, FR and AE if you prefer to go direct)
  • Live chat – a pop-up box that connects you instantly with an expert (not a bot!). Just click the blue icon on our website (bottom-right) and type your question
  • WhatsApp – a that lets you communicate directly with the team, and follow up easily with pictures and documents later if you need to
  • Email – a global address, [email protected], so you can put your thoughts and questions down in words, wherever you are in the world, and get a clear response
  • Fax – an international fax number if you prefer to send messages and documents this way
  • Video – appointments via video link (Microsoft Teams) so you can speak to us (virtually) face-to-face


As our customer explained, getting a swift response from the company you’re deploying is incredibly important. You’d expect a medical transport company to be extremely well organised, of course – some repatriations are medical emergencies and need to happen without delay. But you should also be able to see that ethos flowing through their communications with you. If you have a question, can you get a prompt answer? If you request a price, will you get a quick reply? (We aim to send a quote within 60 minutes of a customer’s call.) Fast, clear responses provide reassurance at a time of high stress for many families. They show the company cares about you and your patient.

Speed of response is one of the reasons we developed an online pricing estimator, too. If you’re looking into medical transport options for the first time, you’ll want to get a good idea of the likely costs as soon as possible. The cost calculator allows you to do that. Just enter your basic details (like your patient’s starting point and their destination) and get a no-obligation estimate of the likely price by medical escort, air ambulance or road ambulance within minutes. (You can learn more about how it works in this article: How to use the EMS cost calculator.)


Just as speed is important, so is consistency. Once your patient’s journey gets underway, will everything fall silent? Or will your repatriation team be in regular contact so you know how things are progressing? This is something we’ve spent time building into our quality management system. We want to give our customers the bigger picture about their transports as they’re happening – a sense of the transport timeline as it unfolds. So when you sign up with us, we’ll be in regular contact with you throughout the process. You’ll get confirmations when we request and receive key documents. You’ll receive alerts as we reach key milestones in the repatriation journey. You’ll get updates on your patient’s situation during the trip (if you’re not able to personally travel with them).

And, of course, you can contact us any time if you want to during the process – 24/7, wherever you are in the world. Communication, after all, is a two-way process. When the health and safety of your loved one is at stake, it’s the very least you should expect from the people who are caring for them.

Interested in reading more on this topic? You might find this article helpful!

How medical repatriation works: a really simple timeline

Contact us

If you need to talk, we’re ready to help. You can reach our repatriation experts by phone, email or WhatsApp – just head to our Contact page for all the details, or click the button below. You can also get a quick, no-obligation cost estimate for your transport with our online pricing calculator.

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