Holiday Medications

Spatial's long-standing holiday medications service

The challenge

Perhaps surprisingly, the volume of dialysis product and equipment for a longer holiday can run into several pallets per patient. Convincing local customs authorities that this is a personal prescription for an individual who is also not allowed to depart from the UK until delivery is completed, is no mean feat!

Spatial's challenge, in short, has been to manage palletised deliveries directly to holiday hotspots around the world – rather than conventional terminals, ports and commercial centres – while ensuring the very highest standards of service.

The lack of infrastructure and facilities for handling palletised freight at these locations can make life difficult. Often gone are the simple pleasures of a receiving dock, a forklift truck, or a warehouse team with telephones. Sometimes there's not even a proper road to where the patient is staying.


What the patients say...

I arrived at my holiday destination in Tenerife and my drugs were waiting for me, in the exact place and being stored correctly. I would like to thank everyone involved for such superb service.
FK, Exeter
The service was simply the best. Thank you so much for allowing us this freedom to act like a normal family; this has made a huge difference to an otherwise hectic and often stressful life.
RT, Ayrshire
I was so worried my feed would not be at the end destination. The relief to arrive in a foreign country with my products intact and where you said was huge; thank you to my coordinator and your drivers.
KE, Portsmouth

The brief

Back in 1998 Spatial was presented by Europe's leading provider of infusion therapies with the task of managing the transportation of medication for UK-based dialysis patients travelling overseas on holiday. Without the service, most of the individuals concerned would not be able to have a holiday at all. The philosophy behind the scheme is to support them and their families, so they can maintain a lifestyle that's as normal as possible.

The task's crucial requirement is that medication is delivered to the destination and its receipt confirmed (as intact and in good condition) before patients are allowed to leave the UK. Upon arrival at their holiday destination – whether resort, campsite, cruise ship, hotel or villa – immediate access is required to the product so patients can continue with their strict medical regimes.

Spatial has undertaken the work exclusively ever since.

The solution

Spatial began by working closely with local partners around the world on import permits, licences and customs declarations – effectively reinterpreting the global supply chain. It gathered knowledge from medical professionals, registered products with food and drug administrations globally, and created a tailored database of information and criteria for each delivery. The result is a unique operating procedure that encompasses the global movement of pharmaceuticals for personal use.

As confidence has grown in the service over the years, so the destinations have become more exotic. A television documentary entitled 'The ten best beaches in the world', for example, brought new enquiries involving holidays in Zanzibar (main photograph above) and the Caribbean. Spatial now has an extensive network of trusted local partners in all the world's major holiday destinations.

To date Spatial has supplied medications to over 2,500 patients in 54 countries

To date Spatial's team has arranged holiday deliveries for over 2,500 patients to 54 countries on four continents (so far no-one has holidayed in Antarctica)

Particular difficulties arise with patients on cruise ships. When vessels call at a port they are usually there for a few hours only, and given the very high levels of security now demanded – especially in the US – getting Spatial's agent quayside ready to load a considerable volume of product can be a headache.

Nevertheless the company must deliver on time, every time. Failure is simply not an option.

Six years after the initial launch a second service was added to support individuals requiring parenteral and enteral nutritional care. These patients are unable to eat normally – many are children and some are severely disabled. With the support of Spatial's team, however, they are now able to have family holidays, often for the first time in their lives.

Spatial has, in addition, taken on responsibility for transporting 'Sleepsafe' dialysis machines for patients. These expensive and delicate pieces of equipment are programmed individually for each user. The company also handles their return from the holiday destination directly to the patient's home.


A lot of therapies, although they can appear to be very complex, are now capable of being administered at home. Spatial's customer, Fresenius Kabi, specialises in promoting, managing, providing and monitoring such therapies outside the hospital, to maximise patients' independence. With Spatial's help, Fresenius Kabi has succeeded where other providers have been unable to establish the necessary consistency and reliability in service levels.

Spatial's award-winning holiday medications team

Spatial's award-winning holiday service team at the Castle Donington, UK, distribution centre

By supporting this shift from hospital to home, many seriously ill people have been enabled to lead more normal lifestyles.

"These and other services have helped Spatial gain a global reputation for excellence and an ability to overcome unpredictable hurdles with a confident, professional and methodical approach", claims Rachel Morley, Spatial Global's Freight Manager. "Being involved with patient's holidays, and with deliveries of such a personal – and at times emotional – nature, is a huge motivator. It drives the whole team to strive unrelentingly for distinction in service quality.

"Overall it's a job that's impossible not to enjoy. It gives us a real sense of satisfaction, and we are incredibly proud of our achievements".

But the last word goes to Karen Flaherty, Head of Homecare & Customer Services UK at Fresenius Kabi Ltd: "Spatial really understands the needs of our business. It delivers on its promises, and prides itself on being the complete logistics solutions provider. It's imperative that our reputation is maintained at all times and I have to put my faith in a partner to deliver our exacting standards. Spatial provides both the required service and the confidence I need. Its service is always first class..."

See BIFA Award #1...

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