Medical repatriation: 3 ways to get you home

If you’re organising a medical transport for a friend or loved one, one of the first things you’ll want to know is:

Medical repatriation: 3 ways to get you home

How will you get our patient home?

This is a good question, because not all medical transport companies work in the same way. Some only operate short haul, say from one European country to another. Others, like EMS Air Ambulance & Medical Repatriation, will cover literally any distance, wherever you are in the world (this recent trip from South Korea to the USA is a good example).

As you may have seen in our recent promotional video, we use three main types of transport to do this. When you call EMS, our repatriation specialists will discuss which option is the right fit for your patient. Here’s how the services work.

Medical Escort

A Medical Escort is a qualified doctor or advanced paramedic who travels with your patient on a regular commercial flight. They provide support for lots of different situations: administering oxygen to a patient with COPD; helping with toilet breaks; and of course emergency care if it were ever needed it during the journey. We can even set up a bed or stretcher space in the cabin if necessary (we always aim to fly business class, where there’s more space to arrange things as you need them). Contrary to what you might think, Medical Escorts don’t just cover the inflight portion of the transport. They stay with your patient on the road transfers to and from the airports too. Although the flight itself is operated by a regular airline, you don’t need to worry about the route details or the bookings either – our Operations Team organises all that for you.

In a nutshell: The Medical Escort service is a popular option for non-emergency patients who need to travel a long way, because it’s relatively quick to organise and cheaper than flying on a private aircraft

Keep reading… The complete guide to Medical Escorts

Air Ambulance

Air ambulances are private jets that have been set up to provide medical care for an onboard patient. One of the main reasons for using them is speed: unlike chartered flights, they can be ordered very quickly and in the air within hours, wherever your patient happens to be. They are also very flexible. If your patient can fly with medium-care medical support, you’ll be able to book one of our premium jets. These can take up to eight friends or family members alongside your patient and medical team, with everything from inflight dining to WIFI and onboard entertainment for the passengers travelling alongside. For emergency situations, where speed and moment-by-moment medical support are essential, we use a type of high-care aircraft that has been purpose-designed to provide ICU-level care, with advanced onboard equipment, to your patient during the flight.


In a nutshell: The Air Ambulance service is designed to transport patients quickly and comfortably, wherever they are and whatever their medical condition


Keep reading… The top 5 questions about air ambulance flights

Road Ambulance

Road ambulances are emergency-style vehicles that have been specially adapted to transport patients overland from one country to another. Although they look like conventional hospital ambulances, they’re actually built specifically for long-distance travel. The vehicles are fitted with air suspension, automatic gearboxes and pressure-reducing mattresses, for example, to increase your patient’s stability and comfort during the journey. They also come with a wider range of onboard medical equipment. Patients are often surprised by the distances they can cover too – our average journey is around 1,600km to 2,500km, but we’ve transported patients further than 4,000km in the past. One advantage of a road ambulance is that it greatly reduces the number of transfers. Unlike a flight, your patient can go bed-to-bed in a single vehicle. Road ambulances are less expensive than air ambulances, and in some cases cheaper than Medical Escorts.

In a nutshell: The Road Ambulance service is a good option for patients who can travel overland (or with ferry connections) to their destination home or hospital, without the need for airport transfers

Keep reading… Behind the scenes on a road ambulance: what’s on board?

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

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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