Medical Repatriation

Rapid response UK, EU and global medical repatriations with a guaranteed bed-to-bed service.

Moving from one hospital to another during a medical crisis can present many challenges and deciding the right medical repatriation option depends on the medical prognosis as well as the quality of care available.

Capital Air Ambulance provide rapid, global-response medical repatriation services, providing the ultimate bed-to-bed service and guaranteed peace of mind, using our critical care-equipped fleet and highly trained medical teams.

A medically escorted repatriation on a commercial flight can be a suitable way of transporting ill or injured people by air. The journey will be on a scheduled flight where a nurse or a doctor (or both), with in-flight medical equipment, will accompany the patient so that they can be cared for properly during the journey.

Dedicated air ambulances are used for a variety of patient needs. For example, where a patient has an unstable condition, a high-risk patient or a patient requiring advanced medical intervention.

Even a patient on life support can be transported in an air ambulance. In addition, air ambulances can be used as a logistical alternative to commercial aircraft, especially when there is limited availability of stretcher space on commercial flights which often occurs during peak seasons. Some destinations have no commercial options for stretchers.

With an air ambulance aircraft, it is possible to arrange medical repatriation at extremely short notice if required. They also have the flexibility of being able to fly into small airports that large commercial aircraft cannot access, meaning they are ideal for evacuating from small islands and remote locations.

In the event that a relative or friend falls ill or sustains a severe injury abroad, our team are able to efficiently arrange your repatriation on one of our dedicated air ambulance aircraft or by providing a medical escort on a commercial flight.

We have set out the following steps to help guide you through the process of medical repatriation.

Image of getting advice on your requested medical repatriation - Capital Air Ambulance.


If you need help with a medical repatriation for yourself, family member or friends we can be contacted at any time 24/7.

In our initial consultation, we will require basic information about the patient’s condition and the number of people accompanying the patient. Our Medical Director will carefully assess your requirements, and Capital will find the appropriate means of transport and provide you with individual costs for your medical repatriation.

We will then discuss all the details of the planned repatriation, further discussions will occur with hospital staff where treatment is being provided and at your destination. We will only proceed with preparations when you feel completely informed and reassured.

Image of getting advice on your requested medical repatriation - Capital Air Ambulance.
Image of preparing your requested medical repatriation Capital Air Ambulance UK.
Image of preparing your requested medical repatriation Capital Air Ambulance UK.

Preparing your medical repatriation 

After you have instructed us to undertake the medical repatriation, we take care of all the necessary aspects: the application for all permits and air traffic rights for an air ambulance are submitted or commercial flight arrangements are made; the coordination of times and dates with airports, hospitals and ground ambulances; and the provision of the ambulance aircraft with a highly specialised medical team on board, with the right skills and experience for the individual patient.

Once instructed, the preparations for the medical repatriation usually only take a few hours and an ambulance flight can often take place the same day or the day after. 

Our ‘bed-to-bed’ service incudes the appropriate ground transport to and from the airport and to the destination hospital in the UK. We are on hand to offer advice if you would like to organise the necessary ground transport yourself. 

Once all the flight preparations are complete, you will receive a detailed briefing document that shows the plan for all steps of the medical repatriation process. For an air ambulance repatriation, the plan will include information on the ambulance aircraft we will be using, the crew, the flight times and meeting points. 

We will be available at all times to answer your queries by telephone at any point during the medical repatriation.

Image of carrying out your medical repatriation Capital Air Ambulance UK.

Carrying out your medical repatriation 

At the agreed time, you will be collected from the hospital providing you with treatment in a ground ambulance or emergency vehicle which will take you to the airport, our highly qualified medical team will accompany you at this first stage of the repatriation. 

In almost all cases, you will not need to pass through the main terminal building– a ground ambulance will drive you directly onto the apron, where the aircraft will be waiting for you.  

Depending upon the airport, there is normally a simplified procedure for passport and security checks for air ambulance flights, allowing them usually to take place on the apron. This reduces waiting times to a minimum. 

Image of carrying out your medical repatriation Capital Air Ambulance UK.

After the formalities have been quickly settled, you will then be transferred onto the aircraft. Our ambulance aircraft will take off immediately and fly you to the closest airport to the destination hospital, and through the flight care will be provided by our highly qualified medical flight team. From there, you will be taken to the destination hospital by ambulance where you will be handed over to the attending doctors on site, along with all necessary medical notes and documentation.

Image of after your medical repatriation Capital Air Ambulance UK.
Image of after your medical repatriation Capital Air Ambulance UK.

After your medical repatriation 

Your successful handover at the destination airport or hospital represents the end of the medical repatriation operation and we hope that our service has made an important contribution to patient recovery.  

However, even after a completed repatriation, we remain on hand for feedback, queries, and additional services. If required, we can provide written reports for your health insurance company. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How does medical repatriation work?
Depending on the distance involved, the nature of the injury or illness and the urgency required for treatment, Capital Air Ambulance offers a range of medical transportation services to meet the patient’s needs and will recommend one of the following methods of medical repatriation:

  • Intensive care air ambulance
  • Medical escort air taxi
  • Commercial flight with medical escort
  • Road ambulance
What is an air ambulance?

Critical care aircraft are specifically equipped as flying intensive care units. They provide specialised medical equipment and a full assortment of patient drugs and medications. The aircraft are staffed with an aviation trained medical team with specialist training and experience appropriate to each case, to meet the specific needs of each patient.

What is the cost of repatriation?

There are a multitude of factors which determine the final cost of the service. Each quote is patient specific depending on their location, destination and most importantly their medical needs.

Please contact our [email protected] for a quote. 

May a family member come with the patient?

Family members or companions are welcome to accompany the patient on private air ambulance transfers; but this is determined by the patient’s condition, any specific medical equipment required to be on-board the aircraft, the necessary medical team and seat availability. The patient will always be first priority. There are however cases where our Medical Director may not approve a family member for reasons that may impede patient care.

What luggage can I bring on the air ambulance?

Luggage capacity is limited on an air ambulance due to the space required for Flight Medical Crew to work efficiently on repatriation flights and the amount of medical equipment carried on-board. Therefore, luggage must be restricted to one soft case and one carry on bag. All costs associated with any additional shipping are the responsibility of the customer. If you have extra luggage please advise us as soon as possible as we may be able to accommodate this.

How do I pay for the air ambulance?

Capital Air Ambulance accepts credit & debit cards and bank transfers. We accept most types of cards but we are unable to accept American Express. All services must be paid for prior to any arrangements being made.

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