The Wales Air Ambulance Charity has permanently relocated its paediatric and neonatal operation to a new base at Cardiff City Heliport moving from its previous base at the Wales Air Ambulance’s headquarters in Dafen, Llanelli.  The Children’s Wales Air Ambulance is a specialist division within the charity, which is dedicated to transferring vulnerable babies and children to hospitals across Wales and further afield. Costing approximately £1500 a mission and airlifting around 300 children a year from life-threatening emergencies or to children’s hospitals across the UK it is no surprise the aircraft has the most advanced flight incubators in the United Kingdom.

The new operation in the Welsh capital is the most advanced air ambulance service for paediatric and neonatal transfers in the UK, with a pioneering flight incubator system and Britain’s only dedicated helicopter transfer practitioners.

Operations manager Mark Winter said: “Moving permanently to our new base in Cardiff is a huge step in developing our Children’s Wales Air Ambulance division. We are now much closer to the Children’s Hospital for Wales and we have dedicated space and facilities for this very unique operation that we run. “We can fly new-born babies and children to any centre in Wales and beyond, including Great Ormond Street and Alder Hey. This can make a vital difference to a poorly child who needs treatment or surgery, saving hours if they had gone by road. It also means the very specialist doctors and nurses we work with in hospitals are back in their wards and helping other children much faster. “In the past 12 months we have flown over 40 children between hospitals, and now we have a home for our Children’s Wales Air Ambulance, we will be helping even more of Wales’ youngest patients in the years to come.”

Helicopter transfer practitioner Andrew Morris said: “Working on-board the Children’s Wales Air Ambulance is nothing short of a privilege. We have an amazing team based here in Cardiff who are on standby to help some of Wales’ most vulnerable patients. No two days are the same on board the transfer helicopter. I’m honoured to do this job.”

Crew profile

Andrew Morris, Helicopter Transfer Practitioner

Andrew Morris is a qualified nurse and helicopter transfer practitioner on board Wales Air Ambulance’s transfer aircraft.

Specialising in adult and paediatric emergency and critical care, Andrew was a resuscitation practitioner at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff for 11 years. As an advanced paediatric life support instructor, he taught staff how to resuscitate and treat children, particularly with multiple trauma.

A Major in the Army Reserve, Andrew was an intensive care nurse in Iraq in 2003 and then, five years later in Afghanistan, was second-in-command of the Emergency Department at Camp Bastion.

Andrew also volunteered for 17 years with Mountain Rescue, working closely with the RAF and clocking 250 hours on the Sea Kings.

He was awarded an MBE in 2007 for his services to Mountain Rescue and the Army Reserve.

Joining Wales Air Ambulance as an HTP, Andrew said: “I saw this as a chance to join a fantastic organisation and put my skills and experience to work in a different environment.

“I’ve had exposure to difficult and challenging situations with very complex patients, particularly during my time at the Children’s Hospital of Wales at UHW. Some patients, young or old, need to be moved to another hospital for further treatment, or to get closer to home while still vulnerable. I’m proud to be working for a charity that can help to make that happen.”

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