Welsh Ambulance Service: Emergency scene doctors appointed
Specialist emergency medicine doctors to help paramedic crews treat patients before they get to hospital have been hired by the Welsh Ambulance Service.
The ambulance service said there was "clear evidence" victims of major trauma do better when treated quickly by senior clinicians.
The doctors, specialists in anaesthetics, will be on stand-by to go to major incidents.
It is the first time for pre-hospital emergency medicine trainees in the UK.
They will be able to perform actions outside the remit of a paramedic such as the administration of advanced pain relief and surgical procedures including the insertion of chest drains and clearing emergency airways.
"Patients suffering a heart attack or stroke benefit from treatment at a specialist coronary unit or stroke unit," said Richard Lee, head of clinical services.
"Sometimes this means taking the patients past the local hospital. Our paramedics will sometimes need the skills of the PHEM (pre-hospital emergency medicine) doctor to facilitate these transfers.
"There is huge potential for pre-hospital care and the co-ordination of that care to contribute more fully to integrated healthcare provision."
Entirely by coincidence, the two successful candidates are old school friends from Bassaleg High in Newport.
James Chinery, who will cover north Wales, has been seconded from the Royal Army Medical Corps.
"Our knowledge and experience means we can advise where is best for a patient to travel, whether it is a specialist emergency department or stroke unit," he said.
"It might mean travelling that bit further, but us being on scene means we can start that critical care."
Newport-based Gareth Roberts, who is swapping the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff for the open road, added: "We're here to assist the crew already on scene, and work as a team.
"We're there if a patient needs that advanced care."
The pair will each be equipped with a rapid response vehicle to attend incidents by road, but will be based within a short drive of their respective air ambulances in case of more remote call-outs.