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Frequently Asked Questions

We have collected the answers to frequently asked questions concerning medical repatriations.

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Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

Table of contents

I need a medical repatriation at short notice. Have I come to the right place?

Absolutely! Precisely when you are looking for an experienced specialist provider of medical repatriations from abroad, Medical Repatriation UK is here to be by your side reliably and competently. For many years, we have specialised in medically accompanied repatriations and patient transports aboard aircraft, helicopters and ambulances.

Accordingly, we can also design an individual transport plan for your medical repatriation from abroad at very short notice. With the carefully planned use of a variety of medical aircraft and ambulance vehicles, we can reduce the total duration of the repatriation from abroad to a minimum and make the patient transport as comfortable as possible for the patient and the accompanying relatives.

Our colleagues in the various international medical repatriation service departments speak English and German, as well as French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Turkish, Polish, Russian and several different Arabic dialects as native speakers. In this way, we can support you in most countries of the world and, for example, take over communication with the doctors in the foreign country. Upon request, we can also travel directly to be with you, so that we can ensure everything proceeds smoothly and can communicate directly with doctors and hospitals.

The biggest advantage for you, however, is that Medical Repatriation UK is not an anonymous call centre. Your individual contact person will be at your disposal 24 hours a day for any queries and can provide you with a specially tailored and transparent quotation for your required service. With us, you are always in the best hands. Call us anytime and let us convince you of our expertise in medical repatriations.

On our webpages, you will find more detailed information on the medical repatriation process. If you have any further questions or would like to make a no-obligation enquiry, please contact our 24-hour service at any time. You can reach us via:

How quickly can the medical repatriation be organised?

We have a worldwide network of ambulance aircraft, rescue helicopters and ambulance vehicles at our disposal. For this reason we can organise medical repatriations with only 60 minutes' notice. As a rule, we can launch a medical repatriation operation on the same day it is requested. Should special permits be required, we will ensure that the authorisation procedures are carried out swiftly.

On our webpages you will find more detailed information on the medical repatriation process. If you have any further questions or would like to make a no-obligation enquiry, please contact our 24-hour service at any time. If you have an urgent request, it is best to telephone us to get help as quickly as possible. But we are also here for you around the clock if you use our other contact methods. Please contact us:

From which countries are medical repatriations possible?

As a rule, no matter which country our patients find themselves in, we can return them to their home country, even at very short notice. Whether you need our support in Europe, Asia, Africa, North, Central or South America, Australia or New Zealand, we organise ambulance flights worldwide and ensure that they meet the highest medical quality standards.

On our webpages you will find more detailed information on the medical repatriation process. If you have any further questions or would like to submit a no-obligation enquiry, please contact our 24-hour service at any time. Please contact us:

How do I request a medical repatriation?

We make it easy for you! In order to request a medical repatriation, simply contact us. We will clarify all questions about the medical repatriation process with you and we will provide you with an individual no-obligation quote. You can then discuss this offer in peace with your family. If you are in agreement with all the details, we will send you a written quotation in which you will find all the important information on the repatriation operation, including flight times, meeting points, pick up times, etc.

Once you have confirmed our offer we will begin the preparations for the medical repatriation and will undertake all the communication, organisation and registration procedures with airports and hospitals. You can then pay for the repatriation by bank transfer, credit card or cash. If the reimbursement of costs has been agreed with them, we can settle the cost of the medical repatriation directly with your insurance company, health insurance provider or aid organisation.

On our webpages you will find more detailed information on the medical repatriation process. If you have any further questions or would like to submit a no-obligation enquiry, please contact our 24-hour service at any time. Please contact us:

How much will a medical repatriation cost?

Unfortunately, there is no universally valid answer to this frequently asked question. The costs of a medical repatriation depend on many criteria such as the condition of the patient, whether the repatriation is required at short notice, the flight route, the number of accompanying persons, the need for ground transports, etc. Our staff will calculate the exact price of your medical repatriation at any time, completely free of charge and without obligation. You can reach us daily, around the clock, even at weekends and on public holidays.

On our webpages you will find more detailed information on the medical repatriation process. If you have any further questions or would like to submit a no-obligation enquiry, please contact our 24-hour service at any time. Our contact details:

Who decides whether the patient is fit to travel?

The decision about whether the patient is fit to fly is made exclusively by the doctor accompanying the patient on the flight. After all, he or she takes responsibility for the medical repatriation mission.

Our flight doctors have been active in the field of medical repatriation for years and possess in-depth knowledge of emergency medicine and flight physiology. This is why they are best placed to assess the patient's fitness to fly. Thanks to the intensive care medical equipment on board the ambulance aircraft, even ventilated intensive care patients can be flown home safely.

If the doctors treating the patient in the foreign hospital classify the patient as unfit to travel, you do not have to accept this decision. Often, local doctors fear having to take responsibility for the medical repatriation. However, unfortunately, such decisions may sometimes be made for commercial, rather than medical, reasons. In such cases, please contact us as soon as possible so that our medical department can assess the actual transportability of the patient.

On our webpages you will find more detailed information on the medical repatriation process. If you have any further questions or would like to submit a no-obligation enquiry, please contact our 24-hour service at any time. Our contact details:

Does the foreign hospital decide whether a patient is fit to travel?

No. In most cases doctors in hospitals abroad underestimate the quality and scope of medical care on board an ambulance aircraft. Therefore, they often shy away from taking responsibility for a medical repatriation. Instead, they declare that the patient is not fit to travel.

In reality, the decision about whether the patient is fit to travel is always made exclusively by the doctor accompanying the patient on the flight. If your relative has been classified as unfit to travel by the foreign hospital, you do not have to accept this decision. Contact us anytime so we can help to find the best solution for you in any situation.

On our webpages you will find more detailed information on the medical repatriation process. If you have any further questions or would like to submit a no-obligation enquiry, please feel free to contact our 24-hour service at any time. Please contact us:

The doctors abroad are pressurising us to sign a declaration releasing them from any liability. What should we do?

Once our medical department has established the patient's fitness to travel, you can place your trust in this decision. Our flight doctors have years of experience and extensive expertise in the medical repatriation field. Therefore, they are best placed to assess the patient's fitness to travel. And thanks to the medical intensive care equipment fitted in the repatriation vehicles and ambulance aircraft, we can transport even the most critical intensive care patients safely, worldwide. You can therefore sign the requested declaration under your own liability and leave the clinic under your own authority.

On our webpages you will find more detailed information on the medical repatriation process. If you have any further questions or would like to submit a no-obligation enquiry, please contact our 24-hour service at any time. Our contact details:

The hospital is refusing to discharge the patient. What should we do?

In most cases, no one can be held in hospital against their will. What's more, this applies in almost all countries. However, occasionally, the discharging clinic may behave uncooperatively towards you and language barriers or lack of engagement on the part of the local staff can make the prospect of an ambulance flight seem impossible.

Here, you can insist on the patient's discharge and, where appropriate, confirm your own liability for it. However, if the clinic does not agree, please contact us at any time: even in complex situations we can work quickly to find an individually tailored medical repatriation solution for the patient.

On our webpages you will find more detailed information on the medical repatriation process. If you have any further questions or would like to submit a no-obligation enquiry, please contact our 24-hour service at any time. Our contact details:

Despite asking repeatedly, I haven't received a medical report. Is this normal?

No. Practically all over the world, when requested, patients or their loved ones receive prompt medical reports or doctors' letters containing details of the patient's current state of health. If the foreign hospital refuses to hand over such documents it helps to insist on your legal rights. Often, the doctors are just overworked and are therefore behind with their medical reports. If you still don't get any further, please contact us so that we can support you.

On our webpages you will find more detailed information on the medical repatriation process. If you have any further questions or would like to submit a no-obligation enquiry, please contact our 24-hour service at any time. Our contact details:

What should we do if the foreign hospital is not cooperating?

It may be that, for various reasons, hospitals abroad refuse to discharge the patient or do not issue the required medical documentation. In addition to the financial aspects, the fear of taking responsibility often plays a major role for the doctors treating the patient. But this concern is unfounded: the local doctor in charge is not responsible for the medical repatriation, it is our attending flight doctor who is responsible, and he or she also decides whether the patient is fit to travel.

Our flight doctors have years of experience and extensive expertise in the field of medical repatriations aboard aircraft and helicopters. Therefore, they are best placed to assess whether the patient is fit to travel or not. Please contact us at any time: we will help you to make your medical repatriation a reality, even at short notice.

On our webpages you will find more detailed information on the medical repatriation process. If you have any further questions or would like to submit a no-obligation enquiry, please contact our 24-hour service at any time. Our contact details:

Who handles communication with hospitals and doctors abroad?

Our staff in the international medical repatriation service speak English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Turkish, Polish, Russian and various Arabic dialects. Therefore, we can help you communicate with the local hospitals and doctors abroad at any time. If required, we can also provide you with an interpreter or a multilingual doctor who can support you personally on site, anywhere in the world.

Depending on the country from which the repatriation is being made and the patient's mother tongue, we can also deploy international staff for the repatriation journey from abroad. In this way, in the majority of cases, we can ensure direct communication with all parties involved.

On our webpages you will find more detailed information on the medical repatriation process. If you have any further questions or would like to submit a no-obligation enquiry, please contact our 24-hour service at any time. Our contact details:

Which documents are required for medical repatriations?

When making preparations for medical repatriations, in addition to the normal travel documents, medical reports from the foreign hospital are usually required. However, these can also be submitted later and at very short notice. As the patient's wellbeing and medical safety are always our top priority we can start preparing for your medical repatriation even if all the necessary documents are not yet available.

Missing or late documents do not, therefore, hinder our ability to plan your medical repatriation by air. Please do not worry about translating documents from foreign languages: we or our multilingual doctors can read these in the original language.

On our webpages you will find more detailed information on the medical repatriation process. If you have any further questions or would like to submit a no-obligation enquiry, please contact our 24-hour service at any time. Our contact details:

Can friends and relatives accompany the patient on the return flight?

At least one friend or relative can accompany the patient on most medical repatriation flights. In a larger air ambulance, depending on the patient's condition, we are able to take several companions together with a substantial amount of luggage. We would be happy to develop a medical repatriation solution tailored to your individual circumstances. We are available to assist you 24 hours a day.

On our webpages you will find more detailed information on the medical repatriation process. If you have any further questions or would like to submit a no-obligation enquiry, please contact our 24-hour service at any time. Our contact details:

Is luggage allowed on a medical repatriation flight?

Patients and companions are allowed to take hand luggage on almost all medical repatriation flights. Whether more luggage can be taken depends on the type of ambulance aircraft used: due to the extensive medical equipment on board, there is only room for one piece of hand luggage per person on most ambulance aircraft. If a larger ambulance jet is used for the repatriation journey there is significantly more room for luggage.

If you would like to bring a large amount of luggage, you can choose your preferred aircraft model yourself and select a larger ambulance aircraft. We will gladly advise you on all questions relating to the transport of luggage on medical repatriation flights. 

On our webpages you will find more detailed information on the medical repatriation process. If you have any further questions or would like to submit a no-obligation enquiry, please contact our 24-hour service at any time. Our contact details:

Is my wheelchair allowed on the ambulance aircraft?

The transport of a wheelchair on the flight depends on its size and, of course, on the size of the ambulance aircraft used. Small, folding wheelchairs can usually be accommodated even on small ambulance aircraft, but they must be registered in advance of the journey. Larger electric models or battery-powered wheelchairs can usually only be transported on board a large rescue plane, due to their dimensions and considerable weight.

On our webpages you will find more detailed information on the medical repatriation process. If you have any further questions or would like to submit a no-obligation enquiry, please contact our 24-hour service at any time. Our contact details:

Who can help us overcome language barriers in the hospital abroad?

If, for example, you are unable to get the necessary medical information about the patient's condition at the foreign hospital due to language barriers, or if you have other communication difficulties, we are happy to assist you. We can conduct doctor-to-doctor telephone conversations in the required language from our head office, so that we can obtain the relevant medical information for you. This is often sufficient to allow us to set the medical repatriation in motion. If required, we will provide you with an interpreter or a multilingual doctor to support you on site.

On our webpages you will find more detailed information on the medical repatriation process. If you have any further questions or would like to submit a no-obligation enquiry, please contact our 24-hour service at any time. Our contact details:

What languages do the flight doctors speak?

We always try to ensure clear and direct communication on board the ambulance aircraft as this contributes significantly to the patient's comfort and confidence during the repatriation journey. That is why we always strive to have a medical team on board that speaks the patient's native language.

On our webpages you will find more detailed information on the medical repatriation process. If you have any further questions or would like to submit a no-obligation enquiry, please contact our 24-hour service at any time. Our contact details:

Can my family doctor accompany the patient on the medical repatriation flight?

Your GP or family doctor is certainly permitted to accompany the patient on the medical repatriation flight. However, your family doctor is not a substitute for the highly specialised flight doctors who are in charge of care during the ambulance flight.

On our webpages you will find more detailed information on the medical repatriation process. If you have any further questions or would like to submit a no-obligation enquiry, please contact our 24-hour service at any time. Our contact details:

I am planning to have medical treatment in the UK. Can you help?

Yes, of course. We will gladly organise your whole treatment experience in the UK. We can help you choose a suitable hospital, complete all the formalities for you and organise the ambulance aircraft and all ground transport journeys. We are also here to support you during your hospital stay. We can even provide you with experienced, multilingual staff on site to make your medical treatment in the UK as pleasant and comfortable as possible.

On our webpages you will find more detailed information on the medical repatriation process. If you have any further questions or would like to submit a no-obligation enquiry, please contact our 24-hour service at any time. Our contact details:

Who takes the patient to the airport?

Due to the distances involved and the potentially complex health conditions of our patients, we mainly use air ambulances for medical repatriations from abroad. Therefore, the patient's journey to the airport must also be organised. For this purpose, we provide an appropriately equipped ground ambulance or emergency vehicle that can take the patient directly to the waiting ambulance aircraft. However, if you would like to organise the ground transportation yourself, this is also an option. We will be happy to assist you with your queries at any time.

In the case of a medical repatriation by helicopter or ground ambulance, ground transport to the airport is not necessary. The ambulance helicopter can either land in the grounds of the hospital or in the immediate vicinity. Similarly, a ground ambulance also transports the patient directly from one hospital to the other.

On our webpages you will find more detailed information on the medical repatriation process. If you have any further questions or would like to submit a no-obligation enquiry, please contact our 24-hour service at any time. Our contact details:

Who transports the accompanying friends or relatives?

The companions registered for the medical repatriation journey can usually accompany the patient in the ambulance or emergency vehicle. In exceptional circumstances this may not be possible, in which case we will gladly arrange a suitable transfer to or from the airport for your accompanying friends or relatives.

On our webpages you will find more detailed information on the medical repatriation process. If you have any further questions or would like to submit a no-obligation enquiry, please contact our 24-hour service at any time. Our contact details:

What are the requirements for medical repatriations aboard scheduled airliners?

The option of a medical repatriation aboard a scheduled airliner depends on a number of factors. The most important prerequisite is that the patient is in a stable medical condition. In addition, medical repatriations in scheduled airliners are usually offered on direct flights only. Of course, we are happy to check for you, free of charge, whether the repatriation of your loved one in a scheduled airliner is viable and can advise you on possible alternatives.

On a limited number of flight routes there is also the option of transporting intensive care patients on a scheduled flight using a PTC (Patient Transport Compartment). Due to the extensive preparations required, only a few airlines offer such intensive care transports and then principally only on long-haul routes. We are happy to advise you at any time about organising a safe and comfortable medical repatriation for the patient and are also happy to answer any further questions.

On our webpages you will find more detailed information on the medical repatriation process. If you have any further questions or would like to submit a no-obligation enquiry, please contact our 24-hour service at any time. Our contact details:

Do you offer medical repatriations by ground ambulance only?

Yes, as long as the patient's state of health permits it and it is medically advisable. For short and medium distances a medical repatriation in an ambulance vehicle can be an economical alternative to an ambulance aircraft. Due to the significantly longer journey times and the limited possibilities for medical care in a ground ambulance, we need to assess the feasibility of an ambulance repatriation for each patient individually. In most cases, especially for intensive care patients and long journeys, only a medical repatriation aboard an ambulance jet is suitable from a medical point of view.

Sometimes our patients' relatives expressly request a medical repatriation in a ground ambulance. There are various reasons for this: often the doctors in charge at the foreign hospital recommend this option as they have no knowledge of the technical and medical capabilities on board an ambulance aircraft. In many cases, however, such requests are made for financial reasons. As we have to ensure maximum safety for patients on each repatriation journey, we cannot authorise any medical repatriations in ground ambulances that are planned solely for economic reasons.

If the patient's state of health permits a medical repatriation, we weigh up this option individually and will be happy to assist you with any queries. Naturally, we can also advise you on alternatives to using a ground ambulance, such as group medical repatriations in a large ambulance jet or a medical repatriation in a scheduled airliner.

On our webpages you will find more detailed information on the medical repatriation process. If you have any further questions or would like to submit a no-obligation enquiry, please contact our 24-hour service at any time. Our contact details:

Which aircraft are used to bring patients home from abroad?

When selecting aircraft we are always guided by our aspiration to ensure the best possible medical care for each patient during the entire repatriation operation. We take numerous factors into account such as the flight route, the desired number of accompanying persons and, of course, the affordability and efficiency of the mode of transport. 

Depending on the individual route, we use different rescue aircraft with suitable ranges, capable of attaining high speeds. We particularly rely on the following aircraft models for our worldwide medical repatriations:

  • Bombardier Learjet 31, 35, 35A, 36, 45, 55 and 60
  • Bombardier Challenger
  • Cessna Citation CJ2, CJ3, CJ4, Bravo, Sovereign and Mustang
  • Embraer Phenom
  • Gulfstream 100

For ambulance flights with several accompanying persons on board it makes sense to use Dornier ambulance aircraft. For the medical repatriation of VIP patients we rely on Boeing (BBJ) ambulance jets and those of other well-known manufacturers.

Turboprop rescue aircraft can be an economical alternative on short routes. They have the advantage that they can land on relatively short runways and airfields close to the patient's destination and therefore keep the total journey time short. We use the following models, among others:

  • Beechcraft King Air 90 and 200
  • Piper Cheyenne III A

With Medical Repatriation UK, you can, as far as technically possible, choose your preferred ambulance aircraft yourself. We are happy to assist you in choosing the best aircraft for your needs and are available 24 hours a day for a free and non-binding consultation.

On our webpages you will find more detailed information on the medical repatriation process. If you have any further questions or would like to submit a no-obligation enquiry, please contact our 24-hour service at any time. Our contact details:

Can I choose the ambulance aircraft myself?

Yes, of course. We will gladly suggest numerous ambulance jets and turboprops during the initial telephone consultation, from which you can choose your preferred ambulance aircraft. Particularly if several friends or relatives plan to accompany the patient on the medical repatriation flight, it is sensible to select a larger rescue aircraft.

On our webpages you will find more detailed information on the medical repatriation process. If you have any further questions or would like to submit a no-obligation enquiry, please contact our 24-hour service at any time. Our contact details:

Will there be doctors on the medical repatriation flight?

Our medical repatriations are carried out by experienced pilots and medical personnel. Depending on the condition of the patient, we will put together a highly specialised medical team in advance, which will accompany the patient on the medical repatriation flight.  

On our webpages you will find more detailed information on the medical repatriation process. If you have any further questions or would like to submit a no-obligation enquiry, please contact our 24-hour service at any time. Our contact details:

What medical care is available aboard an ambulance aircraft?

Ambulance aircraft are fitted with modern intensive care medical equipment according to their model. The equipment is always adapted to the individual illness or health condition of the patient in advance of the journey. This allows us to carry out medical repatriations for even critically ill intensive care patients quickly and safely.  

The standard equipment of an ambulance jet includes the following medical equipment:

  • Intensive Care Unit, with vacuum mattress if required
  • 6,000 litres of medical oxygen and optional additional tanks
  • Multiparameter intensive care transport monitor
  • Intensive care ventilators, including for complex ventilation patterns
  • Twelve-channel multifunctional ECG
  • Pulse oximetry and blood gas analyser
  • Biphasic defibrillator and external pacemaker
  • Satellite telephone for communication anywhere in the world

This represents the standard equipment list. Before the journey, our specialist doctors will supplement the standard equipment with other equipment and medications that are appropriate for the patient's condition.

On our webpages you will find more detailed information on the medical repatriation process. If you have any further questions or would like to submit a no-obligation enquiry, please contact our 24-hour service at any time. Our contact details:

Will my insurance company cover the costs of the repatriation?

Whether the costs of the repatriation will be covered by your insurance depends on your insurance provider. The insurer will also decide on an individual basis whether the complete costs of the medical repatriation will be refunded or whether they will only allow a partial reimbursement. We would be happy to discuss with you the chances of acceptance of costs by the insurance company in your particular case.

On our webpages you will find more detailed information on the medical repatriation process. If you have any further questions or would like to submit a no-obligation enquiry, please contact our 24-hour service at any time. Our contact details:

Do I have to become a member of your organisation?

No, Medical Repatriation UK is not a membership organisation. We operate outside any insurance schemes and organise your medical repatriation in the fastest possible way, even if:

  • You are not insured
  • Your insurance company does not want to undertake the patient repatriation
  • The patient's fitness to travel is in doubt
  • You want to be repatriated at your own request

You are welcome to consult our team free of charge and without obligation. We are at your disposal 24 hours a day.

On our webpages you will find more detailed information on the medical repatriation process. If you have any further questions or would like to submit a no-obligation enquiry, please contact our 24-hour service at any time. Our contact details:

I need a professional contractual partner for medical repatriations. Have I come to the right place?

If you are interested in a long-term partnership in the field of worldwide medical repatriations you are welcome to contact our department for contract partners at any time. We will work with you to develop an individual solution. For several years we have been working closely with highly specialised doctors and well-known hospitals from various countries in a strong partner relationship.

On our webpages you will find more detailed information on the medical repatriation process. If you have any further questions or would like to submit a no-obligation enquiry, please contact our 24-hour service at any time. Our contact details: