Welsh Ambulance Service - Frequently Asked Questions

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 are designed to provide a mobile clinical base to enable crews to treat and stabilise patients before transporting them to hospital.

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.

If you are deaf or speech-impaired you can access 999 services using Relay UK. You will need to download the Relay UK app to your smartphone or other device. In an emergency open the app and tap the 999 button and confirm to make an emergency call. You can also use the 999 by SMS Text Service. Your phone will need to be registered with the service in advance. To register text the word register to 999 and follow the instructions in the reply message you receive. You can find out more from the emergency SMS website.

What categories of emergency response are there?

Our response model focuses on the quality of care provided rather than the time it takes us to reach you, but don’t worry,  if you’re suffering with a life-threatening emergency such as a cardiac arrest or major blood loss, we will still send the nearest available resources as fast as possible.

For less serious conditions, we are measured on how well we treat you and how often we manage to avoid a trip to hospital by referring you to a more appropriate clinical setting.

  • Red Calls - Immediately life-threatening
    We’ll arrange the fastest response possible and we’ll aim to get to you within 8 minutes
  • Amber Calls - Serious but not immediately life-threatening
    We’ll provide care and treatment for your condition, so that you are cared for in the most appropriate way
  • Green Calls - Not serious or life-threatening
    You may be given information and self-care advice over the telephone

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 to hospital that your medication is taken with you. The Green Bag and Message in a Bottle campaigns are two good examples of ways you can either store your medication in case of an emergency or provide information to our staff about where to find your medication. Click on the links below to find out more about these:

What is the Non Emergency Patient Transport Service (NEPTS)?

A vital part what we do involves transporting people to and from their medical appointments at clinics, hospitals and day centres.  The Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service makes around 700,000 patient journeys every year for patients across Wales.

Our highly trained crews use a modern fleet of vehicles and work alongside the hospitals to ensure that we get you to your appointment as comfortably as possible.

The range of vehicles we have means that we can convey a wide-range of patients including those who need stretchers, patients who use wheel-chairs and patients who have a limited mobility. A large number of the journeys for patients who are able to travel by car are made by our dedicated team of volunteer car drivers.

Accessing Transport

In order to make a booking for transport, please contact us by telephone on 0300 123 2303, Monday to Friday 8.00am – 6.00pm.

When you contact us for transport you will be asked a series of questions that will determine whether you are eligible for transport. Eligibility is based upon medical criteria, which has been agreed nationally by Welsh Government, if you qualify for Non-Emergency Patient Transport, staff at our contact centres will arrange the transport for you. If you are not eligible for transport, you will be offered alternative contact numbers for organisations that may be able to assist you.

What is the First Responder Scheme?

When a patient faces a serious emergency, every second counts for them and a simple helping hand from a Community First Responder can make a vital difference to their lives.

First Responders in Wales are volunteers who donate their spare time to attend appropriate 999 calls and provide first hand emergency care to people in their own community.

When a 999 call is made, First Responders are alerted by WAST‘s three control centres and are sent to certain types of calls the same time as an ambulance so they can provide essential care until the vehicle reaches the scene.

The volunteers are trained by the Welsh Ambulance Service to administer basic first aid skills, oxygen therapy, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the use of a defibrillator.

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?

When medical advice or treatment is needed, but it’s not a life threatening emergency, there are a number of options which you can consider:

How do I provide feedback?

If you have an experience or feedback about using any service provided by the Welsh Ambulance Service that you want to share with us, you can contact the Trust’s Patient Experience & Community Involvement Team by emailing peci.team@wales.nhs.uk or call 01792 311773.

If you want to raise a concern (make a complaint) you can contact the Trust’s Putting Things Right Team by emailing Amb_PuttingThingsRight@wales.nhs.uk or phone 0300 321 321 1. For more information visit the Putting Things Right section of our website.