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Patient Transfer Services

Paramedics transporting a patient
BC Emergency Health Services provides the following types of patient transfers:
  • Pre-booked inter-facility patient transfers that require an ambulance and paramedic care
  • Critical care transfers between health care facilities for critically ill or injured patients who need highly specialized care from a paramedic, or who are travelling long distances
  • Infant Transport Team critical care transfers for pediatric, neo-natal and high-risk obstetrics patients
Our dispatch centres manage inter-facility transfers, including assigning ground ambulances to pre-booked requests from health care facilities. The Patient Transfer Coordination Centre (PTCC), based in Vancouver, coordinates all critical care transport (both air and ground), and non-critical air transports.

We have a small number of dedicated ground ambulance transfer vehicles in the Metro Vancouver area, but mainly use emergency fleet ambulances, in between 9-1-1 calls, to transfer patients between health care facilities. Critical care paramedics assist in the transfer of critical patients.

Questions and answers about patient transfer services

When you are ready to return to your home community, your health care team and BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) will determine whether you require paramedic care during transport. If so, BCEHS and your health care team will arrange transport for you via the BC Ambulance Service.
If it is determined you do not require an ambulance, your health care team may arrange an alternate service provider. 

If your health care team discharges you from the hospital because you are well enough to home without paramedic care, you are responsible for arranging your own way home.
It may not be possible for family members to travel with you. BCEHS recognizes the vital role a family member plays in the holistic well-being of a patient, but there is limited space and weight capacity in an ambulance.

The decision for a family member to travel with you cannot be made until the paramedics have arrived to pick you up. For this reason, BCEHS highly recommends family members make their own travel arrangements.

If a family member is approved to travel with you, photo identification may be required.

Inter-Hospital Transfers

If you are insured under the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP), and are being transferred from one hospital to another hospital:

  • $0 *

Inter-Facility Transfers

If you are insured under the BC Medical Services Plan, and are being transferred between a residential care home and a hospital:   

  • $80 flat fee (air or ground) *

Non-MSP Beneficiaries

If you do not have a valid BC Care Card (e.g. visitors to BC/non-residents, as well as work-related injuries, claims under RCMP, and other federal agencies) and require paramedic care and transportation by ambulance: 

  • $530 flat fee (ground service) *
  • $2,746 per hour (helicopter) *
  • $7 per mile (airplane) *
*These prices are subject to change 

For more, please see the Billing page.

It is possible that another patient will be in the same ambulance as you, if you are being transferred. There is a high demand for ambulances within the province and BCEHS strives to use paramedic resources wisely.


This is a decision made with your health care team, in conjunction with BCEHS. The decision is based on many factors including travel distance, your medical needs and resources available.

Yes, this decision is made by your health care team, based on your medical needs. Alternate service providers may be used to transport you such as:

  • Commercial airlines
  • Taxis (wheelchair accessible)
  • Family members
  • Private medical transportation service providers 
  • Handy Dart

SOURCE: Patient Transfer Services ( )
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