Request help »
+++ Ukraine - Russia Crisis : Find out more about medical repatriations from Ukraine. +++

The meaning of repatriation for sick and injured UK citizens or residents explained

Request help »

The meaning of repatriation for sick and injured UK citizens or residents explained

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Medical Repatriation UK is recognized on a local and national level for its commitment to providing efficient, high-quality long-distance patient transportation. However, what exactly is long-distance patient transportation? It may refer to the evacuation or repatriation of UK nationals. We will focus on the last one for the purposes of this article. What does repatriation mean? Is it only applicable to the aeromedical industry?  Is this service available to UK citizens and permanent residents? How is a medical repatriation mission carried out? We provide answers to the most frequently asked questions.

What you should know about repatriation flights

Repatriation flights are not like any other flight. These can be special charter flights that governments organize in order to bring stranded soldiers back to their country of origin. Indeed, the first repatriation missions arose as a result of the need to transport soldiers from battlefields to their home countries during wartime.

Medical repatriation has evolved significantly since those wartime days, and it now extends far beyond the military context. Citizens can, in fact, organize their own medical repatriation. They typically rely on private agencies, such as Medical Repatriation UK, to help them return home quickly and safely. Our repatriation services are usually requested after a patient has been involved in a medical emergency while abroad.

It is critical to emphasize that, as commonly defined, repatriation flights are typically deployed for citizens or permanent residents of the destination country. This means that only UK citizens and residents can be repatriated to the UK in this case. Medical evacuation, on the other hand, is the process of transporting a foreigner to another country for medical reasons. 

We would like to make it clear that our medical flights are available to anyone, regardless of citizenship or residency. 

Flying for medical purposes or to attend a family member's funeral are common reasons that justify the use of a repatriation flight. UK citizens who are stranded abroad due to a lack of commercial airline tickets or border restrictions resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic can also book an international repatriation flight through Medical Repatriation UK.

Be careful! Medical repatriation is not to be confused with repatriation in other contexts, for example, the return of stolen or looted cultural artifacts.

Common case scenarios for medical repatriation missions

Aeromedical repatriation of UK citizens and permanent residents to their home country is becoming more common as the number of travellers and retirees increases. As a result, one of Medical Repatriation UK's most requested services is the repatriation of UK citizens and permanent residents.

Many of our clients may require specialized transportation as a result of polytrauma or medical complications while abroad. Indeed, our repatriation services are frequently used by travellers who become ill while on vacation or working in a foreign country. Similarly, the transportation of elderly patients who require in-flight medical assistance and supervision justifies the use of our repatriation flights and, as a result, the flexibility of our medical services.

In terms of in-flight medical care and services, repatriates from the United Kingdom who have a history of chronic comorbidities and other (severe) medical conditions as well as infections (Covid-19) may request specialized transportation due to  or vital organ dysfunction. Air repatriation is also required when critically ill patients who need to travel long distances require life-saving support such as ventilation or hemodynamic monitoring.

medical equipment in flight

However, using commercial flights to return home may increase the risk of developing flight-related complications like myocardial infarction and hypoxia. As a result, they opt for our air ambulances. Moreover, our patients are accompanied by highly trained physicians who are fully equipped with the necessary onboard equipment. As a matter of fact, our patient satisfaction and speedy recovery are linked to a combination of qualified medical personnel, specialized equipment, and airplane space.

Despite the fact that advanced medical care is widely available in many parts of the world, UK citizens and permanent residents still prefer to be repatriated to the UK following a medical issue abroad. Let's take a closer look at why this is so.

Why would UK citizens and permanent residents opt for repatriation to the UK?

The most obvious reason why UK nationals insist on being repatriated back to their home country is that the UK provides public healthcare to all permanent residents.

In short, the United Kingdom has a government-sponsored universal healthcare system known as the National Health Service (NHS), which is made up of a network of publicly funded healthcare systems spread across the country. This includes England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, where citizens have access to free healthcare but can also purchase private health insurance.

According to the Commonwealth, “the NHS Plan promises more power and information for patients, more hospitals and beds, more doctors and nurses, significantly shorter waiting times for appointments, improved healthcare for older patients, and tougher standards for NHS organizations, thus making the UK's healthcare system one of the most efficient in the world from a quality, efficiency, access to care, equity and healthy lives point of view.” 

Although the quality of free care available in the UK is an important criterion, undergoing or continuing treatments is not the only reason why UK citizens and permanent residents want to return home. Indeed, returning home after a traumatic medical incident abroad means being closer to one’s family and friends and receiving their moral support, which often allows patients to face their disease with more courage.

It also entails being familiar with the practices and procedures used in the country's hospitals and clinics, being able to consult one's own doctor (who is familiar with the patient's history and has access to his previous medical records), and, most importantly, having confidence that language will not be a barrier. Indeed, being in a foreign country where one does not speak the native language can complicate exchanges, especially when dealing with such sensitive topics as health.

medical professional

How is a repatriation mission carried out?

A number of factors influence how your repatriation to the UK goes. When you contact Medical Repatriation UK, one of our agents will enquire about the nature of your request, your medical condition, and any special requirements you may have during the flight. Other factors, such as the distance to be traveled and the number of passengers to be transported, are also considered. In most cases, however, we organize our repatriation missions using our private jets or medical aircraft.

Private jet repatriation is typically reserved for our clients who do not have a medical condition. Many of these passengers have been stranded in a foreign country after being unable to book a ticket on a commercial airline. Many UK citizens and permanent residents have approached us in recent times, particularly since the global outbreak of the Coronavirus, which has resulted in strict and prolonged border closures.

If you are ill or injured and require medical attention during the flight, the organization of your medical repatriation will be different. In this case, we will send a team of medical professionals equipped with any medical equipment or medications you may require during your repatriation flight, which will take place via one of our medical aircraft. Related services, such as bed-to-bed transfers, can also be provided. It is important to note that if you are infected with the Coronavirus, you will be repatriated to the UK alone on a private jet or on an air ambulance under strict medical supervision.

How to book a repatriation flight via Medical Repatriation UK?

It couldn't be easier! Kindly reach one of our agencies by phone or online, by sending us an e-mail or by filling in an online form. One of our representatives will get back to you as soon as possible. After gathering the necessary information and documents, he will arrange for your repatriation on board one of our private jets or medical aircraft within a few hours of your booking. You will, of course, be kept up to date on all of these procedures.

Any further questions?

We answer many of the questions on the topics of long-distance patient transfers in our FAQ section.

Contact us now for your long-distance patient transport!

If you need more information or a free non-binding quote, please contact our 24-hour service at any time. Our knowledgeable and helpful staff can be reached by: 

Back