Welsh Medical Analysis Takes Centre Stage in Finland

Monday 26 September 2016

Jane Lyons
Jane Lyons

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Jane Lyons
Jane Lyons

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The international interest in a Welsh mobile critical care service continues as conference delegates in Finland have learnt how data analysis conducted by Swansea University is helping to save lives.

Jane Lyons, a researcher in the University’s Medical School, is part of a team which is carrying out an independent analysis of the patient data produced by the newly formed Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS Cymru). She spoke last week (19/09/16) at the Safety 2016 conference held in the Finnish city of Tampere, as well as the International Collaborative Effort on Injury Statistics and Methods meeting in the country’s capital Helsinki.

Launched in April 2015, EMRTS Cymru, also known as the Welsh Flying Medics, joined the Wales Air Ambulance (WAA) Charity helicopters to provide pioneering emergency medical care across Wales. The Service, which effectively takes the emergency room to the patient, is made up of Welsh Government-funded NHS Wales consultants and critical care practitioners who are able to deliver innovative emergency treatments previously not available outside of a hospital environment. It works from the WAA Charity’s bases in Dafen, near Llanelli, and Welshpool.

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.

During the conference, Ms Lyons spoke about the methodology developed by the University to conduct an in-depth comparative analysis for the Service. It is centred on the use of its 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. It holds approximately 9 billion records from patients worldwide.

The University’s collaboration with EMRTS Cymru 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 the Service to measure the impact of its treatments on patient outcomes and the wider NHS, and continue to enhance the services it provides.

Ms Lyons said: “There has been a lot of interest from the international community at the meeting in Helsinki and the Safety 2016 conference in Tampere. People are keen to learn more about how multiple sources of data are being used to evaluate the new EMRTS service.”


Additional Information


1. EMRTS Cymru is a partnership between the Wales Air Ambulance Charity, NHS Wales and the Welsh Government. The 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. 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.

3. The Farr Institute is a UK-wide research collaboration involving 21 academic institutions and health partners in England, Scotland and Wales. Publically funded by a consortium of ten organisations led by the Medical Research Council, the Farr Institute is committed to delivering high-quality, cutting-edge research using ‘big data’ to advance the health and care of patients and the public. The Farr Institute’s work involves multinational research partnership between academia, the NHS and industry, focussed on improving the lives of patients and the population through informatics. To find out more about The Farr Institute and Farr CIPHER visit


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