EMRTS Cymru (Welsh Flying Medics) has been developed in the belief that it will bring a series of benefits to Wales, as follows:
Prior to the introduction of EMRTS Cymru, many patients were transferred to the nearest acute hospital and experienced a significant decline in their condition due to delayed secondary transfer and access to specialist care. With the introduction of the Service, a Senior Clinician and Critical Care Practitioner are now able to deliver advanced clinical interventions anywhere in Wales and are able to make a decision as to the appropriate receiving hospital. This could mean bypassing the nearest District General Hospital and travelling directly to the required specialist centre - ensuring more timely access to specialist care for the patient and avoiding secondary transfers.
International evidence suggests that early interventions, particularly those interventions provided outside of normal paramedic practice by EMRTS Cymru, are starting to show an improvement of patients’ functional outcomes following a major trauma or cardiac arrest. Evidence also points to a reduction in mortality from the initiation of timely advanced interventions and decision making prior to the arrival in hospital or a specialist centre and a reduction in the length of hospital stays. Therefore this should result in an increase in the number of ‘unexpected’ survivors.
We also believe that there are ‘downstream’ benefits in hospitals. With more patients being taken to the most appropriate centre from the outset there will be fewer requirements to undergo secondary transfers. This will help receiving specialist centres meet national standards in relation to specific clinical conditions (e.g. time to CT and surgical intervention). Hospitals who would have otherwise received these patients will see a reduction in secondary transfers undertaken by specialist personnel (such as anaesthetists), which can deprive local hospitals of those specialist practitioners and impact significantly on other services within the hospital. This reduction in secondary transfers could also be quantified as a financial saving for the Welsh Ambulance Service and Health Boards.
Clinical and Skills Sustainability
There are a number of unfilled, vacant consultant posts throughout Wales, especially in Emergency Medicine. EMRTS is becoming a world-class service which is attracting recruitment from in and outside Wales.
The Service will also work alongside a number of different healthcare providers as it treats different cohorts of patients. This will provide opportunistic educational activities to occur as EMRTS interacts with healthcare providers in their own hospitals and spark enthusiasm for more structured educational events to be planned collectively in the future.