From the ground to the air! - TCS expands personal assistance

28 November 2011

Bruno Ehrler-Managing Director of TCS Bruno Ehrler-Managing Director of TCS

 After establishing medical service capability at Touring Club Schweiz (TCS) operations centre in 2010, TCS now co-owns Alpine Air Ambulance (AAA) which coordinates all medical transfers. As a result, TCS can now offer all ETI assistance booklet holders who experience accidents or illness an all-in-one professional care from one single source.

In future, TCS will - through TCS Ambulance - also take on an important role in air ambulance transportation. With its 49% ownership of the Zurich-based Alpine Air Ambulance (AAA), Switzerland's largest automotive club has now available three rescue helicopters and two ambulances for medical repatriations or medical transfers. In addition, Alpine Air Ambulance can dispatch ambulance planes such as the Airbus 320 or the Gulfstream 100 at any time.

Bruno Ehrler, Managing Director of TCS commented on this occasion: “With the TCS Ambulance service we want to increase our presence in this area and make it more available to our members. This new service is now directly available and responsible for 700,000 people who trust in the ETI assistance cover (Schutzbrief). The choice of our new corporate identity that we presented on 10 October 2011 has the same aim.”

TCS considers to locate one of the helicopters in Central Switzerland; a second, back up craft is based at Zurich airport. The west of Switzerland is covered - thanks to a close partnership between TCS and the University Hospital in Geneva (HUG) - by a third helicopter based there. Starting April this year, TCS has been coordinating all medical repatriations through Alpine Air Ambulance, who works as a broker and selects the best solution in terms of time, quality and costs for each case.

Medical assistance from a single provider

By offering this service TCS closes an important gap and will in the future be able to offer any of its 700,000 ETI assistance booklet holders, who experience accidents or sickness, an all-in-one professional care from one single source. In January 2011 TCS established its medical group ETI-Med which coordinates and professionally cares for all medical cases. Through ETI-Med and its co-ownership with AAA, TCS is able to offer seamless assistance.
In addition, according to Bruno Ehrler, Managing Director of TCS, the new ETI-Med team would enable TCS to offer closer and more personalised medical care to its members.
With round 800 medical repatriations performed each year for the 700,000 ETI assistance booklet holders, TCS is one of the most experienced organisations in this area of assistance. Since the introduction of the ETI assistance booklet in 1958, a number of competent partners have provided such services on behalf of the TCS. In future, Alpine Air Ambulance will act as a central coordination for all repatriations and medical transfers and continue to cooperate with a number of partners such as REGA.

Integrated with the network of European clubs

Since the beginning of this co-ownership, the experiences with ETI-Med and AAA have been excellent. In 2011 ETI-Med has already handled around 8,000 calls and has performed close to 2,000 medical assessments. Since April 2011 Alpine Air Ambulance has coordinated near to 500 repatriations. Feedback from patients are very satisfying. With the new means of transport introduced today, TCS can expand its offer and perform more repatriations by air than by road (a helicopter's maximum reach to a hospital is 500 km ). In this, it can also rely on the network built by ARC Europe which, besides TCS, includes the seven most prominent European automotive clubs (ADAC, ANWB, AA, TCB, ÖAMTC, ACI and RACE). This advantage gives TCS almost everywhere in Europe logistical support in organizing repatriations. Moreover, most European clubs also offer air transport for medical repatriations which could lead to interesting synergies.

Author/Source: TCS

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