The Wales Air Ambulance (WWA) Charity working alongside the Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS Cymru) has grown into a world-class service. We carry state of the art equipment, medicine and blood products, as well as a team that consists of a pilot, doctor and critical care practitioner. The team not only take patients to the right hospital at the right time, but have the ability to carry out life-saving interventions in the field.
Wales has a large farming population, which is often remote and therefore a long way from the country's larger specialist hospitals. Also, the nature of the farming lifestyle, often involving heavy machinery and large animals, puts this population at a higher risk of needing our services.
A significant amount of our work involves farming incidents. Such examples include traumatic wounds to limbs caused by work machinery; crushing or penetrating injuries from livestock and vehicles; and remote medical emergencies such as heart attacks.
Interventions carried out by our team include administration of advanced pain relief, surgical procedures, blood transfusions and emergency anaesthesia. We then transfer our patients rapidly to the most appropriate specialist hospital.
When arriving at the scene, we will try to land in the safest possible location. Here are some important safety points regarding preparing for our arrival:
We will need to land in a flat field no smaller than the size of a tennis court.
Make yourselves as visible as possible. A high-visibility jacket is ideal.
Clear livestock from the field.
Do not approach the aircraft.
Our team train hard to maintain our skill base. Every job we attend has its different challenges, but when we are able to deliver such a high standard of care to our patients, it is always incredibly rewarding. We have huge respect for the hard-working farming community of Wales and we are very proud to be able to provide them with medical cover when they need it most.
Dr Gareth Roberts