The repatriation of 33 hospitalized patients to the United Kingdom following the Joigny coach accident in 1990 is described. The repatriation was undertaken by medical staff from St Bartholomew's Hospital Careflight project and EuropAssistance using a chartered McDonnell Douglas 83 aircraft. All patients were repatriated without mishap, but a number of difficulties were encountered. It is recommended that agreement is reached in advance as to the organization that should handle overseas disasters involving British citizens. The organization should have expertise in repatriation as well as close ties with the NHS. A protocol should be designed and adhered to. The initial response should involve despatching a team to the disaster country and provision of a control centre in the U.K. Special arrangements need to be made for staff and equipment. Liason with the airlines and ambulance services is essential.
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