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Our expert assistance team

Expert assistance available whenever and wherever you need it

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Our expert medical assistance team

If you need medical assistance while abroad, we’re with you every step of the way. Our UK-based, expert assistance team is at the end of the phone 24/7 and ready to help you get the best possible medical treatment, keep your family informed of what’s happening and even fly out to help bring you home, if needed.

Meet some members of the assistance team:

Adrian West

Repatriation specialist

Length of service: 28 years

I have worked for the assistance company ever since I left university 28 years ago. I have experience in dealing with all aspects of assistance work but for many of my years in the company I have specialised in arranging medical repatriations. This can be very challenging but also very rewarding.

I need to liaise closely with our medical team so I am aware of the patient’s medical needs. The most serious of cases may require an air ambulance, and it’s my job to find the most suitable aircraft and then ensure that ground transport has been arranged at both ends.

What I really enjoy about my work is that no two cases are ever the same, and I never know what I will need to deal with - it could anything from a client with gastroenteritis in Tenerife to someone bitten by a fur seal on the uninhabited island of South Georgia during a cruise in the South Atlantic. Whatever and wherever it is, I enjoy the challenge.

Dawn Hegar

Medical case manager and repatriation nurse

Length of service: 6 years

I worked as an intensive care nurse in the NHS until I joined the assistance company. As a medical case manager, my role is to monitor and manage cases when a traveller becomes unwell while on holiday, usually abroad. This entails reviewing medical reports from the hospitals/clinics abroad, interpreting and evaluating the medical information presented. We also evaluate is the patient is safe in the resort and if the medical treatment is appropriate.

If there is any concern about the safety of the patient, we put plans in place for a medical evacuation. As a repatriation nurse, once I’ve determined that the traveller is still fit for travel, I escort them from their holiday destination back to their home country. On arrival back in the country of origin, I usually escort the traveller to their home address or to their local hospital if required.

The types of medical conditions we manage both as a case manager and a repatriation nurse are varied and range from anything from fractures to mental health issues and dementia. Sometimes I may act as a support to a traveller and their family.

Gabrielle Cooney McGuire

Nursing officer and in-flight nurse

Length of service: 5 years

I love my job. After almost 20 years working in various healthcare roles, I am now in my “forever job”. The pleasure is being able to provide holistic and comprehensive pre-hospital and emergency care to patients of all kinds.

I spend half the month in the office as a medical case manager, liaising between hospitals and patients, monitoring the treatment plans to ensure the patient is getting the best possible care. Occasionally, this means moving the patient elsewhere to access a wider range of investigative tools or specialists.

The other half of the month I fly as a medical escort. Once abroad, I can converse with medical facilities to get the medical information needed, acting as a patient’s advocate in countries where English is not the first language.

Once we are sure the patient is accessing the most appropriate level of medical care, we reassure the patient that all is in hand to get them well enough to fly home and that every aspect of the journey home is considered.

On the day of repatriation, we accompany the patient from the treating facility, every step of the way, through check-in, immigration, security, boarding and disembarking. If it has been deemed necessary to have the patient admitted to a facility in their home country, we will travel with the patient to that facility.

*Customers who ustomers who got a Saga Travel Insurance online quote and bought between 31 December 2017 to 28 February 2018, would save an average of 25% off their premium. Discount may be withdrawn at any time and applies to the first year only.