Wednesday 14 February 2018

GUEST BLOG: What if this was one of your employees?

What if an employee had been wounded in a far-flung corner of the world? What if he needed urgent medical care, but the local hospital was at bursting point and refusing to admit patients?  What if it was difficult to reach the nearest city or airport because the roads were fraught with danger?  Could he bank on his employer to come up with a solution that could just save his life?

The risks
Let’s say this employee was stranded in the middle of a civil war and his injuries were serious. The government had been overthrown, law and order had broken down and there were guns on the streets. Public services were in tatters and it was going to be hard to find him in the chaos.  His case would call for simultaneous security and medical help.

His employer’s security and medical assistance providers may be lined up, but they may not have worked with each other before. Nor may they have contingency plans in place for a combined security and medical evacuation. Without a joined-up response, the injured man could be deprived of protection at the most crucial part of his journey. Medical escorts may not be ready to receive him from their security counterparts. And his evacuation could be delayed. His health could suffer and costs could rise as a result.

Could these fragmented providers work together, first to find the man and then to get him to a good hospital, in the small window of opportunity available?

The “golden hour”
We call the hour after an emergency like this “the golden hour’. Leave a crisis much longer and it may be too late to rectify. But in this case, there would be a lot to do. The real-time security situation on the ground would need to be assessed, medical escorts briefed and secure transport organised to get the man into the best hospital to meet his needs.  A successful outcome would hang on clear communication and a rapid response.

An ideal world
In an ideal world, this employee’s travel risk management programme would include pre-travel training -  so he’d know how to respond to the emergency. He’d know how to minimise exposure to further risk, and how to access combined security and medical assistance via his mobile device. Meanwhile, his travel tracking app would tell his assistance provider exactly where to find him.

The integrated security and medical assistance team would be monitoring the situation in real-time, simultaneously identifying border crossing points, flight options and landing zones and preparing secure transport, medical facilities and emergency medical escorts -  all to slot into place seamlessly.

It wouldn’t be long before the man was in an armoured car, with armed escorts at his side, heading for the emergency medics - ready and waiting to take him to a trusted hospital, probably by air and possibly in a neighbouring country. He would have a bed booked, a surgeon on standby and a full medical handover.  Communication between all parties would have been constant. And the patient would soon be on the road to recovery.

But it could have been a very different story if the medical and security assistance chain had been fragmented.

This post was written by Chris Knight, head of corporate services at global assistance providers CEGA.

CEGA and security experts Solace Global are exhibiting their one-source medical and security assistance service, INtrinsic, at the Business Travel Show, stand B254. Register for your free ticket now at

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