I recently had the privilege of visiting the Air Ambulance base in Dafen with the Welsh Government Health Minister Vaughan Gething AM and local AM Lee Waters, and meeting the highly skilled, dedicated staff who work there. In addition to the paramedics, there is now a team of flying doctors, specialists in emergency medicine, who combine their shifts at the air ambulance with their demanding roles in front line medicine in local hospitals.I was very impressed at the glimpse I had of the amazing work that takes place there behind the scenes: the staff are constantly updating their skills and practising the routine for a whole range of scenarios. We also saw some of the state of the art equipment that they can now take with them on board the helicopter, such as specialist breathing equipment for very small babies which means that help can begin immediately at the scene, without delay.
I should like to say a big thank you to CEO Angela Hughes, Dr Dindi Gill, Dr Ami Jones, paramedic Tracy Phipps and Grant the pilot for facilitating the visit and taking the time to give us insights into their work.
Whilst Welsh Government provides nearly £3m a year to support the flying doctor service, in a unique partnership between the Air Ambulance, the Welsh NHS and the Welsh Blood Service, nevertheless the Air Ambulance relies on charitable donations for the remaining £6m costs, so a huge thank you to all of the many individuals who have helped raise funds for the service. My visit has reinforced my view that this is an outstanding service and we can be very proud that it is housed in Dafen.