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Air Ambulance to the UK: A Professional Guide for British Nationals

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Air Ambulance to the UK: A Professional Guide for British Nationals

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What you should know about your UK medical repatriation in 5 minutes of less

There is no question that illness is always inconvenient. However, the situation is often particularly problematic if you fall ill abroad. The fact that your relaxing holiday or important business trip is ruined may turn out to be the least of your worries.

Air Ambulance

In the case of a serious illness or of major injuries sustained in an accident, you are often in a difficult situation abroad. Most medical standards in hospitals are noticeably lower in many countries than in the UK and language barriers make communication with hospital staff very complicated. If one then adds the separation from friends and family into the mix, it is not surprising that many patients wish for a medical repatriation.

However, returning home under their own steam is impossible for many patients due to health reasons. And a patient transport entirely by road can only be offered from a few countries in the world: the distances are almost always too great to justify a medical repatriation in an ambulance vehicle. That's why an air ambulance to the UK is the most common method of transport for medical repatriations. Ambulance aircraft can be used anywhere in the world and can even transport intensive care patients quickly and safely.

Your options for a swift air ambulance flight: Bespoke solutions for your medical condition

Above all, your state of health determines which means of transport should be used for an air ambulance flight. However, the urgency of the flight and the planned route may influence what means of transport is chosen. Generally, ambulance jets, scheduled airliners and helicopters can all be used for ambulance flights.

Ambulance jet for a rapid and safe air ambulance flight

For many patients, an ambulance jet is the most suitable means of transport, especially if the patient is seriously ill or if the air ambulance flight must take place at short notice.  The equipment on board these ambulance aircrafts allow the flight doctors to work in similar conditions to those in a modern intensive care unit. Thus, the patient is always well looked after, and even serious cases can be transported gently and safely.

Another advantage of using an ambulance jet is its flexibility. Most ambulance aircrafts are much smaller than airliners. Therefore, they can land at smaller regional airports and thus pick up patients very close to where they are staying. Time-consuming ground transports can be exhausting for the patient and are therefore kept as short as possible. Since our air ambulances are stationed all over the world they can be deployed quickly when needed – often on the same day or the following day.

Scheduled airliner: a cost-effective option with a longer lead time

With a lead time of one to two days, an air ambulance flight on board a scheduled airliner can be organised. However, the basic requirement is that your state of health needs to be stable enough to allow you to travel in this way. Medical repatriations in scheduled airliners are always accompanied by an experienced doctor or paramedic. Compared to an ambulance jet, this form of medically accompanied transport is much more cost-effective.

If you can sit upright during the flight, the journey will usually be made in a normal seat in Business Class. Here, the comfortable seats can also be folded flat so that you can lie down and rest during the flight.

At the same time, the medical flight attendant has the necessary room to manoeuvre if his or her intervention becomes necessary. If you can only be transported lying down, however, a patient stretcher bed is installed in the aircraft.

Such air ambulance flights in scheduled airliners are mainly carried out on long-haul routes. On short-haul routes, the conditions in Business Class are not suitable for patient transports using stretcher beds. As there is only a short time between the plane landing and taking off again, the airlines also shy away from the effort of installing a patient stretcher bed.

Short, flexible air ambulance flight by helicopter

Due to their short range, helicopters are only suitable for air ambulance flights on short-haul routes. But here, the helicopter can exploit its greatest strength: its flexibility. While patient transports by plane are always coupled with ground transport to the airport and from the target airport to the patient's destination, helicopters can usually fly directly from hospital to hospital. Many hospitals have their own landing facilities for helicopters, or a suitable landing area close by. This saves valuable time, enabling ambulance flights to be completed quickly.

Ambulance helicopters have extensive medical equipment on board, comparable to the equipment in an ambulance jet or the intensive care unit of a hospital. The specialised medical team on board can therefore ensure that the transport of even patients needing the most intensive care is carried out quickly and safely.

Air ambulance flight: the costs involved

If the cost of an air ambulance flight is not covered by the insurance – and insurance cover only applies in medically necessary, and occasionally in medically reasonable, cases – the question arises for the patient and relatives as to what costs they will be faced with. Unfortunately, there is no generally applicable answer to this question. Instead, our experts put together an individual quotation for each air ambulance flight, considering various factors. Above all, we consider:

  • the means of transport needed
  • the planned route
  • the patient's state of health
  • the number of accompanying persons
  • the urgency of the ambulance flight

Bed-to-bed service with Medical Repatriation UK

If an air ambulance flight is made in an aircraft – whether an ambulance jet or scheduled airliner – you can benefit from our bed-to-bed service, if desired. In such cases, we organise not only the ambulance flight, but also all the necessary ground transports.

On the day of the flight, our ambulance or emergency vehicle will pick you up from the hospital and drive you to the airport, accompanied by medical professionals. At the airport, you will be handed over to the medical team that will be in charge during the air ambulance flight. Another ambulance or emergency vehicle will be waiting for you at the destination airport. This ensures faster, safer transport at every stage of the journey. Medical Repatriation UK acknowledges the importance of having a partner who can provide a completely turnkey and calming medical evacuation or repatriation service during these trying times. We have agreements in place with the majority of major British airports, as well as smaller airfields, enabling us to deliver high-quality service across the UK. We're here to make sure you're taken care of.

Any further questions?

We have compiled lots of useful information for you about the organisation and timeline of an ambulance flight in our FAQ.

Contact us now about your medical repatriation

Our 24-hour service is available to you at any time, and we can start organising your air ambulance flight immediately upon request. Please contact us: