EMS Ambulance 12 Aug 2021


Medical repatriation: why is a “bed-to-bed” service so important?

If you’ve started looking into ambulance repatriations from abroad, you may have come across the term “bed-to-bed” service.

What exactly does that mean? Well, in essence it means the company you’re considering will take charge of your patient’s wellbeing, treatment and transport for their entire transfer – literally from the home or hospital bed they are currently occupying to their point-of-care bed in your home country – and not merely to a foreign airport or a drop-off point.

This is something EMS Ambulance offers as standard on all our repatriations – whether you’re planning to travel by air ambulance, road ambulance or medical escort on a regular commercial flight. In our view, it’s the least you should expect from a professional and well-organised repatriation company – a mark of quality for the very important journey you’re planning to undertake.

Here are the key reasons why, in our view, “bed-to-bed” is the right way to repatriate your patient.

Peace of mind

When you give us the green light to proceed with a repatriation, we really do take care of everything. You simply provide us with the essential travel documents – a photo of your passport, visa or residence permit – and the start/end addresses. We then liaise with the airports and border authorities to arrange all the connections, check-ins and luggage transfers. You don’t need to do anything else. Just wait for our medics to collect your patient from their foreign bed (we can often do this within hours of your call) – and tell you when they’re about to arrive at the destination bed.

A dedicated medical team

Bed-to-bed means your patient stays under the care of a single team of doctors and paramedics while they’re in transit. We’ll contact their hospital doctors immediately to discuss their current status, the treatment they’re undergoing and the medicines or equipment they may need during the journey – that includes full, in-flight intensive care (ICU). One of EMS’s experienced medical directors is available by phone 24/7, alongside the on-board medical team.

Simpler, faster transfers

Keeping everything under one roof helps to speed up the transfers over the route. There’s only one team working on your case; any handovers – for example, to a road ambulance collection team at the airport – involve EMS-trained personnel who have been briefed on all the details of the transport. This prevents delays and confusion between different medical teams. It also means you get a single, simple price for the whole journey. There are no hidden costs or multiple accounts and payments to factor into the total.

Aftercare included

Our concern for your patient doesn’t actually stop at their home or hospital bed. The EMS team will do a comprehensive handover with the local doctors and nurses to make sure they have all the details and documents they need for the next phase of their treatment. We won’t leave until we’re satisfied that everything is in place. Over the coming days, we’ll be back in touch with you to see how things are going.

Mini Case Study: a bed-to-bed transfer from Cyprus to the UK

When Michael’s mother was taken ill in Cyprus, her family asked EMS Ambulance to repatriate her back to Sheffield for hospital treatment. “She has COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), was in hospital in Paphos, and was oxygen-dependent but very keen to return to the UK,” Michael explains. “Within a couple of hours, [one of EMS’s medics] was making his way to Cyprus.” Having a single team involved in the mission meant all the finer details of the repatriation, and the necessary equipment she needed, were taken care of in advance – which was a major relief. “[The medic] spent almost a full day with her and had numerous meetings with the medical team in Paphos, before escorting her home on a regular flight. EMS booked all flights, medical transfers etc. The service they provided was literally from the hospital bed in Paphos to the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield, our home city. Many thanks to EMS. Highly recommended.”

Contact us

If you need advice and help on a repatriation, please drop us a line today. Our team will be delighted to hear from you.

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