Service Improvement

You may have heard about a recent review of the air ambulance service in Wales.

Here you can find information and resources to keep you up to date with the work we will be doing over the next two years to improve our service and inevitably save more lives.

The review highlighted how we are unable to get to between 2 or 3 patients a day and that our service is not being delivered in the most effective way. It is vital to address the issue of unmet need.

You probably have so many questions about what is going to happen next. We hope this space will provide you with those answers, offer reassurance and give you the opportunity to find out more about the work we do. 

The Wales Air Ambulance service is delivered via a unique Third sector and Public Sector partnership. The Charity raises the funds for the helicopter and rapid response vehicle operations (£11.2 million every year). The Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS) supplies highly skilled NHS consultants and critical care practitioners who work on board the Charity’s vehicles. 

Our lifesaving service is delivered by air and by road. We have four helicopters and a fleet of rapid response vehicles. These are currently based in Caernarfon, Welshpool, Dafen (Llanelli) and Cardiff. 

In 2024, we expect to reach a huge milestone, 50,000 missions. Our crews attend around 4,000 incidents each year across Wales, helping patients, wherever and whenever they need us. 

Our service is consultant-led, which means we take hospital-standard treatments to the patient and, if required, transfer them directly to the most appropriate hospital for their illness or injury. This can be within Wales or to specialist treatment centres in England. For the patient, this can mean hours saved when compared to standard care and is proven to greatly improve survival and recovery.  

Our service attends the highest-level emergency calls that involve life or limb-threatening incidents. We attend less than 1% of all 999 calls received via the Welsh Ambulance Service Contact Centre. 

We are a pan-Wales service. With only four teams covering the whole of our country, we are a scarce and highly specialised resource. Therefore, regardless of where they are based, our dedicated crews will travel the length and breadth of the country to deliver emergency lifesaving care. 

Our service does not replace the Welsh Ambulance Service, we work in partnership with them. In most cases, a road ambulance will be on the scene of an incident before us. In the chain of emergency care, Welsh Ambulance Service medics offer the initial immediate care. Wales Air Ambulance is the next link in the chain, delivering advanced hospital-standard treatments even before patients get to a hospital.