IntlSOS 30 Years - From East to West - Page 153



08 Developing a Global Infrastructure | Assistance Centres
Linda Recalls
Linda Lee has been with us since the
early days. Like many she joined us while
still quite young and moved up the
career ladder, taking on more and more
responsibilities. To start with she worked
in the Singapore Assistance Centre
dealing with both medical and nonmedical calls. The latter included dealing
with lost credit cards and travellers
cheques. She even remembers receiving
a call from someone asking her if she
could obtain some morning after pills!
Working for two years on nights gave
her the time to look at our systems
and processes and she made many
suggestions on how things could be
improved – this was to become her
strength. She also helped with training
– especially on call handling. After
many different roles Linda now works
on designing and implementing
business applications for the medical
services platform.
Linda made the most of every
opportunity and even found herself
attending the 1998 Nagano Olympics
to support one client’s customer
services operation (see below). She
emphasises that her career has very
much been helped by the accessibility
of the Founders. She remembers early
on suggesting to Arnaud that there
should be a dedicated team in the
Assistance Centre for non-medical
calls as the number of these had
hugely increased. He liked the idea
and gave her some guidance on how
to present her vision to her senior
managers. She did and her concept
was adopted.
Linda: “Arnaud was very patient and
often helped me. His door really was
always open.”
Today, our Assistance Centres
include medical, health and security
experts, aviation specialists and ground
logistics personnel.
— David Johnson
In the last few years co-ordinator nurses have been
added to these teams. They were first introduced in
Sydney by Dr Nerwich; London, Johannesburg,
Philadelphia and other Centres followed. Neil
recognises that nurses are high calibre professionals
who understand all about the medical equipment,
transportation needs and other aspects of medical
assistance. He sees them as “a great medical asset,
integral to our service provision across the group.”
“I took one call involving a patient at sea
who was suffering with intense abdominal
pains, which turned out to be a burst
stomach ulcer. Although the priority was
to get him to land, I needed to maintain
close contact with the medic on board
to make sure his condition didn’t worsen.
We were constantly on the lookout for
serious complications like internal bleeding.
Ultimately, it was our fast action,
recommendations and constant monitoring
that ensured the patient was evacuated,
seen by an appropriate surgeon and restored
to full health as quickly as possible.”
As David Johnson points out: “Today, our Assistance
Centres contain a large number of highly trained
experts. These include medical, health and security
experts, aviation specialists, ground logistics
personnel and in-house travel agents as well as
Assistance Centres fully dedicated to specific clients
such as TRICARE.”
To meet the specific needs of some industries we
have set up ‘Response Centres’ around the world.
These offer specialist services to remote, offshore
and other locations in the event of employee injuries
or illness. They are manned 24/7 with medical
professionals who have an intimate knowledge of
some of our clients’ internal occupational health and
safety procedures. When such events happen a
number of official reporting requirements come into
play, such as those set out by the US Occupational
Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). As well as
offering extra medical support to the on-site staff,
our experts can help ensure appropriate procedures
are followed and client reports are correctly
prepared. As Neil explains,
“This is a growing area of service provision which
integrates our on-site medical services and
assistance services in a highly specialised way.”
– A Co-ordinating Nurse
Far left: London Assistance
Centre, UK, 2013.
145

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