Board Approves Plans for National Retrieval Service

 Thursday 4 April 2013

The Scottish Ambulance Service has approved detailed proposals for a world class national specialist transport and retrieval service for critically ill NHS patients in Scotland. 

The full business case for the project, which is predicted to cost £9.3 million per year, has been submitted to the Scottish Government for evaluation and approval. It will deliver a single integrated national service with a sustainable multidisciplinary medical and clinical team, making best use of the range of road and air transport resources.

Called ScotSTAR, the initiative will see the current three transport and retrieval services; the Scottish Neonatal Service (SNTS), the Transport of Critically Ill and Injured Children Service and the Emergency Medical Retrieval Service, brought together into one national specialist service co-ordinated by the Scottish Ambulance Service.

The Service currently provides transport logistics for all three retrieval teams and is best placed to host and co-ordinate the service for NHS Scotland.

The new service will go live in April 2014 and will have a central base at Glasgow Airport at the new air ambulance centre. This will be enhanced by clinical bases elsewhere in Scotland, defined by clinical and geographical need.

Pauline Howie, Chief Executive, Scottish Ambulance Service said:
“The ScotSTAR proposal is the result of a detailed review of all of the specialist transport and retrieval services. It will deliver more flexible and responsive care for critically ill patients across all of Scotland as a genuinely world class service.

“A centralised and co-ordinated approach will create opportunities for greater shared working, training and education of staff and bring efficiencies and consistency to the way in which some of the most critically ill patients are transported.”

The Service undertakes around 2,200 cases every year in Scotland where specialist, highly skilled, clinical teams are required to manage the care of patients during transport by air and road.  These specialised retrievals are usually clinically complex and take much longer than a normal emergency response.