New National Retrieval Service

 Monday 31 March 2014

A world-class national specialist transport and retrieval service for critically ill NHS patients in Scotland will go live tomorrow (1 April).

Called ScotSTAR, the project represents an investment of £9.5 million a year that provides 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.

ScotSTAR brings together the 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, with the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS), which co-ordinates the teams and  road and air ambulances.

The teams based in the West will move into a purpose built facility next year at Glasgow airport, integrated into the new air ambulance base. This will be enhanced by clinical satellites elsewhere in Scotland, defined by clinical and geographical need.

ScotSTAR brings a centralised and co-ordinated approach that 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.

Health Secretary Alex Neil, said:
“This world-class dedicated transport and retrieval service will benefit critically ill patients, by providing a single specialist integrated service across Scotland.
“This new coordinated approach will bring greater efficiencies and ensure there is consistency across Scotland for how our most critically ill adults, babies and children are transported.”

Pauline Howie, Chief Executive, Scottish Ambulance Service said:
“ScotSTAR is the result of a detailed review of all of the specialist transport and retrieval services. It will deliver a genuinely world class service for patients in Scotland who require specialist care.”

Dr Phil Booth, National Director for the Scottish Neonatal Transport Service said:
“For the past 11 years the Scottish Neonatal Transport Service (SNTS) has provided safe care for all babies that have required to be moved between hospitals and maternity units within Scotland. Transport team members have also been at the forefront in training and educating clinical colleagues in the resuscitation and stabilisation of sick and premature infants. The establishment of ScotSTAR will enable SNTS to join with the other teams and the Scottish Ambulance Service to provide an efficient, safe and integrated national transport and retrieval service.”

Dr Stephen Hearns, Clinical Lead, Emergency Medical Retrieval Service, said:
"The Emergency Medical Retrieval Service looks forward to improved transport coordination by the ambulance service through ScotSTAR. Scotland's adult retrieval service also welcomes NHS Scotland's funding for a purpose built retrieval base at Glasgow Airport."

Dr David Rowney, Paediatric retrieval Consultant, NHS Lothian, said:
“I am very excited to be involved in this new, ground-breaking service which will benefit thousands of the sickest adults, babies and children across the whole of Scotland. ScotSTAR will provide high-quality clinical decision support to NHS colleagues and rapid dispatch of a skilled clinical team in the optimal mode of transport, providing an intensive care bed on the move and delivering the patient to the most appropriate intensive care unit in Scotland.”

Dr Andrew McIntyre, Associate Medical Director, Scottish Ambulance Service, said:
“ScotSTAR will bring together the existing expert transport teams for critically ill babies, children and adults. By combining this expertise, and co-locating key resources, ScotSTAR will provide a service that is exceptional by international standards and unique in the U.K. It’s an exciting project and I am very much looking forward to being part of it.”

ScotSTAR expects to undertake 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 clinically complex and take much longer than a normal emergency response.