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Update on development of the NHS Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS Cymru) and Wales Air Ambulance Charity (13 June 2023)

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 almost 14 weeks of public engagement, I would like to firstly thank you for your participation in Phase 1 of the EMRTS Service Review.

This first phase, that began in March 2023, has focussed on listening to your comments, queries and gathering of feedback on how to develop options to further improve the air ambulance service in Wales – a service which is a beacon of excellence and is highly valued without doubt.

Whilst Phase 1 has taken longer than originally planned, this is a complex issue and I have emphasised that my priority is doing this thoroughly, rather than being bound by any arbitrary timescales.

I have continued to meet with various stakeholders including elected representatives at national, regional, and local levels, as well as community group leaders throughout the process as well using the established governance routes, such as Health Boards’ Stakeholder Reference Groups, as part of the overall engagement approach across Wales. On this, I would like to thank you all for your contributions in hosting and helping to co-ordinate these localised arrangements in the last few months.

I have been grateful for the constructive dialogue in all sessions you have participated in - drop-ins, in-person public meetings, and virtual/on-line - which has been very helpful to me and I have appreciated the time and interest given from you all on this matter. The passion for the air ambulance service is clear and there is a common goal here; to make a great service even better for our communities in Wales.

I committed at the outset of this process to conduct a full and transparent engagement and I hope you feel that I have honoured this throughout Phase 1. I have been clear that no decision has been made and that listening to the public is shaping the way in which options, for the future configuration of the service, are developed and want to reaffirm that this remains the case.

Following Phase 1, the work to develop a range of options is the focus for my team and me during the next few months, all informed by the feedback to date as well as complementary data modelling that is now underway.

Once the options are developed, I will come back out to the public as Phase 2 for your comment on these that will help me arrive at a recommended and preferred option. I will then take this recommended option to be considered by the Emergency Ambulance Services Committee (EASC) for decision. 

I anticipate that Phase 2 of the public engagement will start in the autumn but as soon as confirmed dates and location details are in place for Phase 2, we will send out updates to you, our stakeholders, as well as publish all updates on the EASC website as we have done throughout the engagement.

In helping us to plan Phase 2 sessions, please provide any thoughts you may have about how Phase 1 sessions were for you. This helps us understand how we can make sure we are making these as effective as possible for everyone involved and you can do this from this link:

Just a final reminder that feedback as part of Phase 1 can be provided up to and including Friday June 16, 2023 via: 

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

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: 13/06/23