A group of Assembly Members have elected Llanelli AM Lee Waters as the Chair of a new cross party group set up to help support the Wales Air Ambulance. The Welsh charity run the UK’s largest air ambulance operation from their state-of-the-art Headquarters in Dafen.
“I am proud to be heading this cross-party group to support the Wales Air Ambulance. They don’t simply transport people to hospital quickly, they provide pioneering emergency medical care usually only available in hospitals”
Lee Waters said. From their new Headquarters in Dafen the charity operates four airbases across Wales, making them the largest air ambulance operation in the UK. Their three emergency Helicopter Emergency Medicine Service (HEMS) aircraft are based in the North (Caernarfon), Mid (Welshpool) and South (Llanelli) of Wales. A fourth aircraft based in Cardiff is dedicated to the children’s air ambulance operation. The charity has recently taken delivery of the first of three new upgraded helicopters at Dafen, the advanced Airbus H145 model, which will significantly enhance operations. The aircraft has a larger cabin and more powerful engines, meaning there is extra room for treatments and the helicopters can fly longer without refuelling. When all three are operational the charity will move a step closer to its goal of providing a 24-hour air ambulance service.
“Hundreds of people from right across Wales have been given life-saving treatment by highly skilled consultants and medical team at the scene of an emergency, using some of the most advanced medical equipment available anywhere in the world. This has transformed our ability to provide the very best care to the most critically-ill patients across Wales, but especially in our more remote and rural areas.”
Welsh Health Secretary Vaughan Gething said, at the inaugural meeting of the cross-party group in the Senedd. Wales Air Ambulance Charity CEO, Angela Hughes, said:
“The cross party group enables us to share the charity’s developments with Assembly Members from across Wales. Our operation is helping to shape pre-hospital and retrieval care, so this is a fantastic opportunity to speak with representatives of the constituencies we fly missions in every day.” “The cross-party group will provide an important forum to bring together the Air Ambulance team and their partners, Assembly Members and Ministers from all parties to make sure the NHS is able to offer the best modern service for patients”
Llanelli AM Lee Waters added. The Welsh Government last year provided £2.8M to support the NHS medics who fly on the air ambulance, but the charity needs to raise £6.5 million every year to operate the service. The charity raises all the funds required for the day-to-day running of missions, with each mission on average costing £1500.