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EMRTS Service Review November Update

The NHS Wales Emergency Ambulance Services Committee has published the following update on the development of the NHS Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS Cymru) and Wales Air Ambulance Charity:


Dear Stakeholder,

After five weeks of public engagement, I would like to thank you all for your feedback in Phase 2 of the EMRTS Service Review, which has closed this week, (November 12, 2023). As you may appreciate, I have a substantial volume of correspondence on this matter, as well as other areas for which I am responsible, and please be assured that each item received is being reviewed and responded to, so thank you for your patience on this.

This second phase, that began in October 2023, has once again focused on listening to your comments, queries and gathering of feedback on the options that were developed from your Phase 1 feedback. Throughout Phase 2, in addition to the public engagement sessions, I have continued to meet with various stakeholders including elected representatives at national, regional, and local levels, staff groups within EMRTS and the Wales Air Ambulance Charity (WAAC), and Health Board members. On this, I would like to thank you all for your contributions in hosting and helping to coordinate these localised arrangements in the last few months.

Once again, I have been grateful for the constructive dialogue in all sessions you have participated in - drop-ins, in-person public meetings, virtual/on-line, letters, e-mails, and phone calls - which has been very helpful to me and I have appreciated the time and interest given from you all on this matter. As Phase 2 closes, there are some points I’d like to reassure you on:

  • I have emphasised throughout both phases of engagement that the purpose of this Review is to ensure that as many people as possible benefit from the excellent clinical outcomes that the critical care teams of EMRTS deliver (in partnership with the Wales Air Ambulance Charity);
  • Importantly, this means that those who receive the service now, will continue to receive the service in the future as this is not a service change, nor a service closure but rather it is about building on the success of the service for more people to benefit from the critical care interventions delivered at scene for life and limb trauma;
  • I have also emphasised, that this is not ‘just about numbers’: The modelling is a helpful tool when considering all factors holistically within the overall evaluation framework, and the evaluation framework itself gives a meaningful structure by which the options can be fully appraised;
  • I stressed at the end of Phase 1 of the EMRTS Service Review engagement that no decision had previously been made on this issue and that has remained the case during Phase 2. My Commissioner’s Report and supporting documents were factual - the options modelled were not assessed or interpreted. This means that there has not been a ‘preferred’ option, and therefore no ‘recommendation’ during Phase 2.
  • Now that Phase 2 window has closed, your feedback is being thematically analysed.
  • Alongside your feedback, the options developed will be shortlisted and assessed through the agreed evaluation framework. The outcome of the evaluation will lead to a recommended option for the Emergency Ambulance Services Committee to consider and ultimately decide on.
  • The EAS Committee dates, full details and papers are published on the EASC website, link here: The Committee - Emergency Ambulance Services Committee ( but please be assured that we will continue to issue these Stakeholder Updates to keep you informed of developments.
  • I’ve heard lots from communities again in Phase 2, about how highly valued this service is. Your passion for the air ambulance service is palpable and I would like to reassure you that I wholly acknowledge the important role that this service has, for rural communities in particular.
  • At the outset of the engagement, I made a commitment to listen to feedback, to be transparent, and to undertake this engagement with the robustness it deserves.

I am encouraged by the comments my team and I have received throughout Phase 2 and for those of you who have taken the time to write to me that testifies to this. You have my continued commitment to conclude this Review with the rigour and integrity it deserves.

My sincere thanks once again for your interest, time, and valuable contributions on this important matter.


Best wishes

Stephen Harrhy.

Chief Ambulance Services Commissioner 

Further information is available from the Emergency Ambulance Services Committee website.

Check our Air Ambulance Review page for all news articles and updates about the review of air ambulance services in Wales.