WALES Air Ambulance is to extend its hospital transfer service to operate seven days a week to mark its 16th anniversary - to help more children like Elain James from Aberystwyth, who needed two emergency transfers at just 12 weeks old.
The EC135 T2e aircraft, based in Cardiff, is dedicated to completing inter-hospital transfers for newborns, children and adults. Extending this helicopter’s operating hours from five days per week will mean that all four of the charity’s aircraft will now run seven days a week.
All aspects of the seven-day transfer service - from the crew to the kit on board - will be funded by the Wales Air Ambulance with no government or lottery funding. The extra operating hours will mean that the charity can help save more lives across Wales.
Elain was just 12 weeks old when she first needed to be airlifted by the charity’s specialist children’s division, the Children’s Wales Air Ambulance.
Elain’s mum Bridget James, 33, said: “Elain, who’s now seven, was born with a rare heart condition called Pulmonary Atresia which affects the flow of blood through her heart valves. In the first few weeks of her life she needed to be taken to specialist hospital units in Cardiff and Bristol.
“At three months old, Elain suddenly collapsed at home and we needed to get her to the specialist unit in Cardiff as it was the closest hospital equipped to deal with her condition.
“It would have taken more than three hours to get her there by road, which just wasn’t an option in my mind; she wouldn’t have made the journey. Instead, the Wales Air Ambulance got her there in just 30 minutes and Elain was seen by her specialists straight away, saving her life."
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