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Update on development of the NHS Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS Cymru) and Wales Air Ambulance Charity (8 March 2023)

Image of Welsh air ambulance car and helicopter 

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:


Please find attached Briefing Note 6 which is an update on the position related to the Service Review on Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS Cymru) in partnership with the Wales Air Ambulance Charity.

The initial Service Development Proposal was considered by the Emergency Ambulance Services Committee (EASC) on 8 November and Members asked for more scrutiny before further steps could be taken. An update report was provided to EASC on 6 December 2022. Four areas for scrutiny were agreed:

1.            Providing EMRTS to the population of Wales (population coverage)

2.            Rapid Response Vehicles (RRV) [How these vehicles should best be used]

3.            Utilisation (using what we have in an effective way)

4.            Unmet need (more patients to receive the critical care service).

Formal public engagement will confirm how the EMRTS works now, will inform the development of boundaries or limits to be used and options that will then be modelled. This will ensure that the benefits or otherwise of each option are clearly set out and weighed up as part of an open, transparent and robust process.

The last update explained that the EASC Team were working with experts in Health Boards and with Community Health Councils to develop engagement materials and that the formal process of engagement would start once these have been agreed.

Since the least briefing, the Wales Air Ambulance Charity announced its new aviation partner as Gama Aviation Plc and that it is extending its contracts with Caernarfon Airport and Welshpool Airport until 2026.

The work in preparing the formal engagement activity has continued at pace and you will see from this update the extent of information that is now available on our EASC website to include a video explainer and detailed Frequently Asked Questions section.

I will provide further updates in due course.

Thank you very much for the important comments and queries that we have received through our website. If you have further queries or suggestions please use the following link:


Thank you

Yours sincerely

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.


Published 08/03/23