Between the beginning of July and 20 August 2017, Rega’s Operations Centre organised the repatriation of some 260 persons suffering medical problems abroad who needed to be brought back to Switzerland for further treatment. While around a quarter of them were able to travel home on a scheduled flight – often accompanied by a Rega flight physician or flight nurse –, approximately 190 patients were transported in one of Rega’s three ambulance jets.
Mainly on holiday in the Mediterranean region
During the holiday period, Rega’s three Challenger CL-604 jets were mainly in operation in the neighbouring countries. Most of the patients were repatriated from Italy, followed by Spain, France and Greece. The longest trip home was by a patient who was flown by ambulance jet to Switzerland from Australia.
Medical clarifications before every repatriation
Whether and when an ambulance jet is deployed is determined based on medical and operational criteria. Prior to every repatriation, thorough medical clarifications are carried out by a Rega medical consultant. In liaison with the Operations Centre, the physician on duty decides whether repatriation is necessary and sensible, and if so, what form it should take. As with the flight coordinators, Rega’s medical consultants are available around the clock.
Strong fluctuations in operational activities
Rega’s operational activities are subject to strong fluctuations depending on the season. The period during the summer holidays generally means an increase in jet operations. The causes of the medical problems suffered by people abroad are just as varied as the travel patterns of the Swiss population. However, the most common reasons for repatriation are serious illnesses, followed by road and sports accidents.
Rega is in operation for people in distress not only in Switzerland, but all over the world. Anyone who experiences a medical problem while they are abroad can contact Rega around the clock via the international emergency number +41 333 333 333. In many cases, the Rega medical consultants can already provide the necessary help over the phone. Or they arrange for patients to be flown home on board a Rega jet or a scheduled flight, under the professional care of a member of Rega’s medical team.