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Local Services

Welsh Ambulance Service - Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Emergency Medical Service (EMS)?                     

How do I request an emergency ambulance?

What categories of emergency response are there?

What should I do if I take regular medication and am taken to hospital?

What is the Patient Care Service (PCS)?

How do I request non-emergency ambulance transport?

What is the Wales Air Ambulance?

What is the First Responder Scheme?

What do I do if it's not an emergency?

What is the Partners in Healthcare Network (PiHN)?

What is the Emergency Medical Service (EMS)?
The Emergency Medical Service deals with emergency and urgent cases as well as the more complex non-emergency admissions, discharges and transfers from hospital.

Emergency Ambulance crews are highly trained in all aspects of pre-hospital emergency care, and usually consist of an Ambulance Technician and a Paramedic. Emergency ambulances are equipped with a wide range of emergency care equipment, and designed to provide a mobile clinical base to enable crews to treat and stabilise patients before transporting them to hospital.

If you are deaf or speech-impaired you can still access 999 services from a mobile phone by sending an SMS text message to 999. Your phone will need to be registered with the emergencySMS service. You can find out more from the emergency SMS website.

How do I request an emergency ambulance?

In a medical emergency, for example - unconsciousness, difficulty in breathing, a suspected heart attack, heavy blood loss, serious injury, severe burns – call 999 for an emergency ambulance.

What categories of emergency response are there?

Immediately life-threatening calls are classed as category A emergencies and will receive an emergency blue-light response.

Urgent and planned calls which are serious but not life-threatening  or neither serious nor life-threatening will be classed as category C calls.

What should I do if I take regular medication and am taken to hospital?

It is important that if you are on regular medication and an ambulance has to take you in to hospital, that your medication is taken with you. There are a few campaigns that have taken place to do with storing your medication incase of an emergency e.g. green bag scheme and message in a bottle. Click on the following to find out more about these:-

Therefore if you are taking medication make sure that it is stored correctly and appropriately so that a paramedic would know where to look if you are unable to.

What is the Patient Care Service (PCS)?
The Patient Care Service transports a wide range of patients including:

  • out patients
  • routine discharges and admissions
  • geriatric and psycho geriatric day care
  • non urgent inter hospital transfers
  • and those unable to attend hospital by any other means

How do I request non-emergency ambulance transport?
Depending on which part of Wales you live in, you can book an ambulance to attend an outpatient appointment by calling one of the three regional Non-Emergency Transport Centres which cover the following areas:

  • North Wales Tel: 0300 123 2317
  • Central and West Region Telephone 0300 123 2303 (Covering the areas of Neath Port Talbot, Bridgend, Swansea, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire).
    For Powys and Ceredigion telephone 0845 840 1234
  • South East Region: If booking transport for the first time telephone 0800 32 82 332 (8.30am to 6.00pm on weekdays) or if you would like to book subsequent appointments telephone 0300 100 00 12 (8.00am to 4.30pm on weekdays)

To qualify for transport from the regional centres, you will need to meet certain criteria, for example you need a stretcher for the journey, you need continual support to walk or you receive regular dialysis or cancer treatment.

Your entitlement will be established when you contact the transport booking centre; if you are not granted hospital transport you will be offered contact details for alternative transport providers.

When you ring you will be given a booking reference number, which you will need if you have any queries. Be prepared to give the following details:

  • Name, address, phone number,
  • NHS number / hospital number,
  • name of hospital, clinic or treatment centre you will be attending
  • date and time of your appointment.

Call at least 1 week and not more than 3 months before the date of your hospital appointment; if you are eligible for transport, it will be booked for you and you will be given a booking number, which you will need if you have any queries at a later date.

If you have been sent an urgent appointment and are unable to give at least 2 working days notice, please ring as soon as possible and if you are eligible every effort will be made to try and arrange transport for you.

What is the Wales Air Ambulance?
The Wales Air Ambulance is provided jointly by the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust and the Wales Air Ambulance charity. The Air Ambulance helicopters operate from bases in North, South and Mid-Wales and are dispatched to a variety of emergency incidents across Wales.

Airborne paramedics can access a severely injured person easier than a road ambulance to begin vital treatment. The helicopters can also transport patients directly to the most appropriate hospital far quicker than any road vehicle.

Examples of the types of incidents attended by the Air Ambulance can be found on the Wales Air Ambulance website.

What is the First Responder Scheme?
First Responders are community-based volunteers trained to respond to life-threatening emergencies and to deliver appropriate care until an ambulance arrives. All volunteers are trained by the Welsh Ambulance Service and undergo regular assessments to ensure that their skills are up-to-date.

Their role is often crucial in increasing a patient’s chances of survival by providing life-saving treatment within the first minutes of an emergency.

More information on the First Responder Scheme is available on the Welsh Ambulance Service website.

What do I do if it's not an emergency?
The way in which health services are being provided is changing. When medical advice or treatment is needed there are a number of options which you can consider before you dial 999:

• Talking to a pharmacist
• Contacting their GP (or GP Out of Hours Provider)
• Contacting NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47

When the need is urgent you may also wish to consider attending your nearest Accident & Emergency unit.

What is the Partners in Healthcare Network (PiHN)?
The Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust is committed to ensuring that people are actively involved in decisions about their care, that they are engaged with across Wales, and that their involvement sits at the heart of service planning and delivery.

The Partners in Healthcare Network (PiHN) has been created to increase patient and public involvement and anyone can join. It is made up from individual members of the public, patient/advocate group representatives and other wellbeing groups who have registered their interest and support to be involved in Trust activities.

To find out more about the PiHN including details of it's activities and how to become a member, take alook at the PiHN section of the WAST website.


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