Who are we?


The Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS) Cymru is an exciting new service for Wales that provides Consultant and Critical Care Practitioner-delivered pre-hospital critical care across Wales. It was launched at the end of April 2015 and is a partnership between Wales Air Ambulance Charity, Welsh Government and NHS Wales.

EMRTS Cymru is also referred to as the Welsh Flying Medics.


EMRTS Cymru supplies a highly-trained NHS Critical Care team comprised of:


• Consultants - from an emergency medicine, anesthesia and intensive care background.

• Critical Care Practitioners – including nurses and paramedics.


We work with the Wales Air Ambulance Charity to deliver a highly effective pan-Wales clinical emergency service.

Our mission statement: 


“To provide advanced decision making and critical care for life or limb-threatening emergencies that require transfer for time critical specialist treatment at an appropriate facility”



What do we do?


Services offered include:


  • Pre-hospital critical care for all age groups (i.e. any intervention/decision that is carried outside standard paramedic practice). 

  • Undertaking time-critical, life or limb-threatening adult and paediatric transfers from peripheral centres (inc. Emergency Departments, Medical Assessment Units, Minor Injury Units) for patients requiring specialist intervention at the receiving hospital. 

In addition, we provide an enhancement of neonatal and maternal pre-hospital critical care (both for home deliveries and deliveries in free-standing midwifery-led units (MLUs). This includes:

  • Transferring neonatal teams to distant time-critical cases by air. 

  • Supporting midwife units and home deliveries by stabilising neonates and women with life-threatening problems and transferring them to a consultant-led delivery unit. 


Finally, the service provides a multitude of roles at major incident or mass-casualty events and, for the first time in Wales, a strategic medical advisor is available 24/7. This advisor is known as a top cover consultant.


When the Wales Air Ambulance Charity helicopters are unable to fly due to poor weather conditions, EMRTS Cymru has access to a fleet of Rapid Response Vehicles (RRVs). Five Audi Q7s have been converted into state-of-the-art emergency response vehicles designed to enable the team to reach the scene of a medical emergency, by road, as fast as possible. These vehicles are stationed throughout Wales at Wales Air Ambulance bases. Medical equipment has been designed to be interchangeable between the charity’s helicopters and the RRVs.


The service ensures that 95% of the Welsh population will be able to access doctor-led care within 30 minutes by air and 46% of the Welsh population within 30 minutes by road.


How does it work?

EMRTS Cymru is coordinated via the Air Support Desk (ASD) which is based at the Welsh Ambulance Service headquarters in Cwmbran. Critical Care Practitioner's and an allocator on the ASD monitor emergency calls made to the ambulance service and assess the appropriateness of EMRTS Cymru support. The ASD also receives direct calls from NHS services and departments requesting assistance for an emergency patient transfer. In certain cases, a conference call is set up with the on-call top cover consultant to provide advice and support. 


If you work for the NHS in Wales and would like to know how to access EMRTS Cymru services please contact us.