Pioneering Welsh Medical Service Supports Health Data Campaign

Monday 4 April 2016

Data Saves Lives. That is the message from medics at Wales’ Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS Cymru) in support of a national campaign to highlight the positive use of data in health and well-being research.


Launched in April 2015, EMRTS Cymru provides pioneering emergency medical care across Wales. The Service is made up of consultants and critical care practitioners (paramedics and nurses) who are able to deliver emergency treatments previously not available outside of a hospital environment.


The EMRTS medics travel on board the Wales Air Ambulance Charity helicopters and in a fleet of Rapid Response Vehicles which enable them to reach the scene of a medical emergency as fast as possible.


A vital part of the development and growth of EMRTS Cymru is the data analysis that it undertakes in partnership with The Farr Institute at Swansea University. The University operates the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) Databank, a world-class, privacy-protecting data linkage system that securely brings together the widest possible array of routinely-collected data for research, service development and evaluation.


The collaboration with EMRTS sees pre-hospital care records linked in SAIL with a variety of national data-sets including Emergency Department, Ambulance, Primary Care, Intensive Care and National Trauma Audits. Through this, a patient’s journey can be followed anonymously from injury to rehabilitation. This allows EMRTS Cymru to measure the impact of its interventions on patients’ outcomes and the wider NHS, and continue to enhance the services it provides.


Dr David Rawlinson, EMRTS Cymru Clinical Informatics Manager, said: “As a service that has, and continues to, introduce many different innovations in critical care it is important that we continually assess and evaluate what we do. This includes the analysis of our mission data. Not only does it inform the evolution of EMRTS Cymru but, because of the international interest in what we do, it also allows us to support other similar services across the world.”


Professor Ronan Lyons, Director of the Farr Institute at Swansea University, said: “I am delighted to support the intelligent use of data to inform the development of NHS services and improve patient outcomes.”


The #DataSavesLives campaign is promoted by The Farr Institute and is designed to highlight the positive impact of health informatics research on public health. For more information visit


Additional Information


EMRTS Cymru is a partnership between the Wales Air Ambulance Charity, NHS Wales and the Welsh Government. The consultants and critical care practitioners (paramedics and nurses) fly on board the Wales Air Ambulance Charity helicopters which are based in Swansea and Welshpool. The team are able to reach 90% of the Welsh population within twenty minutes. It is the generosity of the Welsh public, through donations to the Wales Air Ambulance Charity, which keeps the helicopters flying.


When the helicopters are unable to fly due to poor weather conditions, the service has access to a fleet of Rapid Response Vehicles. For information about EMRTS Cymru visit To find out more about the Wales Air Ambulance Charity visit


SAIL stands for Secure Anonymised Information Linkage. SAIL is a Wales-wide research resource focused on improving health, well-being and services. Its databank of anonymised data about the population is world recognised. SAIL receives core funding from the Welsh Government’s Health and Care Research Wales. A range of anonymised, person-based datasets are held in SAIL and, subject to safeguards and approvals, these can be anonymously linked together to address important research questions.


For further details please contact Steven Stokes, EMRTS Cymru Communications Manager, on 07866 796985 or via

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