Flying medics service launches in north Wales today.
Specialist consultants and critical care practitioners are set to join Wales Air Ambulance (WAA) crews in north Wales from today, Monday August 14.
The Caernarfon based ‘Flying Medics’ team known as EMRTS Cymru, Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service will now give the Air Ambulance service the ability to conduct blood transfusions, administer anaesthetics, offer strong painkillers, and conduct a range of medical procedures – all at the scene of an incident.
The first phase of EMRTS Cymru started in 2015, delivered through the Charity’s Llanelli and Welshpool bases, the expansion into Caernarfon will enhance access to timely pre-hospital critical care in north Wales.
Before the ‘Welsh Flying Medics’ service was introduced, all WAA helicopters, which are funded by £6.5 million of charitable donations each year were staffed by paramedics.
The new service will see, on any given day, a consultant based at either Welshpool and Caernarfon bases.
The base without the consultant will have autonomous Critical Care Practitioners (CCPs) who are able to offer a high level of care, above and beyond standard paramedic practice.
The latest independent study by the Farr Institute at Swansea University has already started to reveal how the ‘Welsh Flying Medics’ service is having a positive impact on critical care in Wales.
By taking the emergency room to the patient, the Service has shortened the time it takes for somebody who is critically ill to receive consultant-led treatment
The Service will run twelve hours a day, seven days a week, and will be dispatched via the Air Support Desk at the Welsh Ambulance Service headquarters in Cwmbran.
In addition, the Service also has access to a fleet of Rapid Response Vehicles and an RRV will be based in Caernarfon along with the advanced helicopter.
Medical equipment has been designed to be interchangeable between the Charity’s helicopters and the RRVs.
Today @wgcs_health Vaughan Gething AM is meeting our new Welsh Flying Medics at the Caernarfon airbase. pic.twitter.com/sXmYwIzXzJ
— Wales Air Ambulance (@air_ambulance) August 14, 2017
Health Secretary Vaughan Gething said:
“I welcome this initiative that will enhance the existing service from Caernarfon and bring it in line with the rest of the EMRTS cover enjoyed elsewhere.
“It will bring access to critical care and emergency medicine much closer for people living in North Wales and ensure that they can get the best care more quickly.
“The new helicopter and rapid response vehicle available at the airbase will protect the existing WAA service and make the area more attractive to the very best clinicians and critical care practitioners. It will play a vital role in the provision of high-quality unscheduled care across North Wales.”
An independent evaluation by the Farr Institute at Swansea University has already started to reveal how the ‘Welsh Flying Medics’ service is having a positive impact on critical care in Wales.
Results indicate that:
- by taking the emergency room to the patient, the Service has shortened the time it takes for somebody who is critically ill to receive consultant-led treatment
- more people in Wales, in rural and urban areas, now have equal access to timely consultant-led treatment during an emergency incident, and can be immediately transported to specialist care at healthcare facilities across Wales and beyond
- the Service has relieved some pressure on frontline NHS emergency services. It has improved the time it takes for certain patients to be taken for a CT scan or emergency surgery. In addition, the Service has reduced timely and costly transfers between hospitals by taking patients directly to the appropriate specialist care
- the Service has supported the development of skills and knowledge in critical and emergency care for NHS Wales employees, both during emergency incidents and by organising regular training opportunities.