North Wales set to benefit from "flying medics" critical care

Reporter:

Owen Evans

A life-saving service known as the “flying medics” is set to be rolled out in the region.

People in North Wales are set to benefit from the implementation of the Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS Cymru), which helps provide pre-hospital critical care.

The new team will be located at Caernarfon Airport and will be able to operate from the Air Ambulance, or via road.

In a report released by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board ahead of their meeting next week, Meinir Williams, the health board’s hospital director for the west, said: “NHS Wales currently funds a service (EMRTS Cymru) which places doctors and advanced medical equipment on two of four Wales Air Ambulance Charity helicopters.

“EMRTS was established in April 2015 and operated from the Air Ambulance Bases in South Wales (Dafen Air Base, Llanelli) and Mid Wales (Welshpool Airport), but not North Wales (Caernarfon Airport), which remained under Welsh Ambulance Service Trust governance.”

A group was set up to address the “geographical inequity of service provision” and “ongoing safety and governance risks relating to the undeveloped base at Caernarfon, which have led to internally reported clinical incidents”.

It was agreed that the Caernarfon base would be placed under EMRTS governance, base infrastructure would be standardised, and advanced medical equipment installed.

They also agreed to recruit to a full complement of Critical Care Practitioners to the base and ensure consultant medical input to the base.

The implementation required capital funding of £340k and recurring revenue funding of £100k per year.

Mrs Williams said the benefits included “increased access, in North Wales and parts of Powys, to the enhanced level of clinical skills and medical equipment offered by the service”.

She added: “With the introduction of EMRTS Cymru at Caernarfon, the Wales Air Ambulance Charity will be able to launch a new H145 helicopter.

“This aircraft will have ‘night vision’ technology to operate in the hours of darkness and will, therefore, enhance EMRTS’ ability to attend incidents during the time frame.

“Caernarfon Airbase is well located to support the hospitals of North Wales.

”On a standard air ambulance helicopter, Ysbyty Gwynedd can be reached in five minutes, Ysbyty Glan Clwyd in fifteen minutes, and Wrexham Maelor Hospital in twenty-five minutes.

“In EMRTS Rapid Response Vehicle will be located in Caernarfon and its proximity to the road network also makes a time-critical road response a viable option in poor weather to reach patients.”

The new operation will be officially launched by the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Health, Vaughan Gething, on Monday.

Email:

owen.evans@nwn.co.uk

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