EMRTS Cymru Support for Isolated Medical Units

Thursday 7 September 2017


Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS Cymru) medics have run a training day for colleagues from isolated medical units who may experience a critically ill patient.

The Transfer for Isolated Medical Units (TIMe) course took place recently (06/09/17) at the Wales Air Ambulance Charity headquarters in Dafen, near Llanelli. It was attended by fifteen medics who work in isolated medical facilities across Wales.

The training was delivered by EMRTS consultants Dr Kate Stephens, Dr Ami Jones, Dr Owen McIntyre and Dr Beth Barton alongside critical care medics Dr Nathan West, Dr Mike Slattery, Dr Matthew Carwardine and Dr Mike Argent. Also involved were Helicopter Transfer Practitioners Jez James, Andrew Morris, Dewi Thomas and Steffan Simpson.

Dr Stephens, who is also a Consultant Anaesthetist for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, said: “EMRTS provides time-critical retrievals and inter-hospital transfers for critically ill patients. This is particularly important for isolated medical units or minor injuries units with no critical care on site.

“EMRTS can bring critical care to the patient, stabilise them and transfer directly to critical care. This also takes pressure off emergency departments. EMRTS also provides advanced decision-making and point-of-care diagnostics (blood tests, ultrasound) so we can take the patient directly to specialist centres if required. 

As well as retrieving patients, EMRTS also supports isolated medical units with consultant advice, developing pathways and guidelines for transfer, and this course on stabilisation and transfer.” 

The TIMe training included presentations about the process of activating EMRTS to support isolated medical units and coordinating the transfer of a patient to a specialist hospital. There were a number of workshops covering IO access and airway management, and discussions around ethics and effective communications during the transfer process.

Dr Stephens said: “The course aims to put clinical skills into context using simulation and patient scenarios, and emphasises communication. It tackles some difficult ethical and logistical scenarios. Importantly it helps us to establish links with staff in referring hospitals, and get their feedback on how best to support them. It's about getting to know our colleagues and learning from each other.” 



Additional Information


1. EMRTS Cymru is a partnership between the Wales Air Ambulance Charity, NHS Wales and the Welsh Government. The Welsh Government-funded NHS consultants and critical care practitioners fly on board the Wales Air Ambulance Charity helicopters which are based in Dafen and Welshpool. 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.



To find out more about the Wales Air Ambulance Charity visit



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