The Welsh Ambulance Service (WAST) will receive 84 new operational vehicles thanks to a £10.9M investment from the Welsh Government.
The Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething has also announced a further £1.6m in funding to the Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS) to expand the service into a 24/7 operation and establish the Critical Care Transfer Service. This is additional money following the £1.7m already given to the service. This service will support the national transfer of critically ill adults across Wales.
The Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS) 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.
The funding will be used to fund three specialist critical care ambulances and will see investment in equipment to support the expansion of the EMRTS service
Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething, said: “The Welsh Ambulance Service has experienced a huge surge in demand on its services due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The funding announced today will allow the service to upgrade its existing fleet, allowing the service to deliver the best care for people in Wales.
“I’m also pleased to announce further funding which will establish a new Critical Care Transfer Service and see the expansion of EMRTS to a 24/7 operation, in partnership with the Wales Air Ambulance Charity.”
Chris Turley, the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Executive Director of Finance, said: “Our ambulances and response cars in Wales are some of the most modern and well equipped in the UK and this funding will allow us to continue to replace our vehicles as they reach the end of their working life
“Modern ambulances are essential in order that we can continue to provide the best treatment and patient experience possible.
“They’re also important for staff who spend the majority of their working day out and about in the community.
“It’s never been more important than ever to have a fleet which keeps the wheels turning on our ambulance service, and we’re grateful to Welsh Government for its continued support.”
Professor David Lockey, EMRTS National Director, said: “The funding has allowed us to extend our critical care provision into a 24/7 service. This, along with our partnership with the Wales Air Ambulance Charity, has helped us improve equality of access to rapid emergency-department standard care across the country.
“In addition, the funding for three specialist critical care ambulances will give us the capacity to support colleagues across NHS Wales with the transfer of critically ill patients between hospitals by road.
“We are very grateful for the ongoing support from Welsh Government, which has allowed our service to grow and make a significant contribution to critical care in Wales.”