Medical Rescue’s air ambulance services save lives. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this Australian Export Awards Professional Services winner 2022 was the only service bringing critically unwell patients from the Indo-Pacific to Australian hospitals for treatment.
To say it’s been a busy few years for Medical Rescue is an understatement.
During the pandemic, the Queensland-based air ambulance service was one of the only aeromedical services in Australia to continue flying across international borders.
When Australia’s borders were closed during 2021, it was the only service to safely transfer COVID-19 positive patients to Australian hospitals for lifesaving treatment.
‘Our service genuinely saves lives,’ says Dr Glenn McKay, Managing Director at Medical Rescue. ‘Without the essential aeromedical link between countries in our region and Australian hospitals, many people won’t make it.’
Dr McKay reflects that the pandemic was an ‘extraordinarily difficult’ time for his company.
‘With border closures and clinical workforce shortages, there was an immediate need to safely transport COVID-19 patients across international borders,’ he says.
Dr McKay and his team rose to this tough task, continuing to fly when most other services stopped.
‘We were being asked to help repatriate patients from much further away than our previous area of operations,’ says Dr McKay. ‘This saw us grow our reputation and overseas partnerships considerably.’
Medical Rescue services include more than transporting COVID-19 patients. Its hub on the Gold Coast solves other critical transport problems for global governments and travel insurers.
Dr McKay points to Pacific Island nations, many of which have limited healthcare capabilities. His team has worked hard to create relationships with Pacific Island governments and hospitals. It also works closely with insurance companies.
This has seen Medical Rescue become the go-to international air ambulance service evacuating patients to Australia for any lifesaving treatment in the region.
‘We provide jet aircraft equipped with full ICU capability,’ says Dr McKay. ‘These are crewed by Australian medical staff and aircrew to respond when necessary.’
Medical Rescue offers a direct benefit to travellers, as well as to businesses sending staff across the Indo-Pacific.
These businesses need to know they can get their people home if something goes wrong, says Dr McKay.
‘By providing an aeromedical link, we give a level of assurance. This means businesses can expand and send their representatives to countries with limited healthcare.’
Medical Rescue works closely with Austrade in Indonesia and the Pacific Islands.
‘Austrade has been an enormous help in making introductions to representatives from foreign hospitals, health departments and other clients,’ says Dr McKay.
Dr McKay highlights the range of available advice and support for businesses looking to expand and diversify export markets.
‘You don’t need to go it alone and build from the ground up,’ he says. ‘There is funding and a whole team in government to help you engage with stakeholders. And that help is so valuable.’
Medical Rescue also provides a range of prehospital and deployable health services across Australia. These include vaccination services for First Nations communities, remote medical services, and quarantine services. It also supports the mining, construction, oil and gas industries, and the Australian Defence Force.
Medical Rescue is seeing exciting growth in all aspects of its aeromedical amenities. The team is currently focused on strengthening its relationships with Indo-Pacific hospitals.
In the past year, the company has built new relationships with Japan. It also became an accredited provider for the United Nations.
‘We have just signed an agreement with one of the largest hospitals in Thailand to coordinate and repatriate Australian and New Zealand tourists,’ says Dr McKay.
‘We intend to work more closely with Austrade and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to establish further relationships offshore.’
Austrade recently met with MedPark hospital in Bangkok. The agency recognised Medical Rescue’s new partnership with MedPark to provide evacuation services.
This will no doubt see Medical Rescue build even more robust and reliable overseas networks and save many more lives.