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Expert team transport hundreds of sick babies

By Lynsey Bradford, Town Reporter Friday 30th May 2014
Nurse Ian Braithwaite

A SPECIALIST critical care transport team from Barnsley has transferred more than 2,300 of the sickest babies and children to other hospitals over the last year.


Embrace is a highly-specialist transport team which transfers critically ill babies and children between hospitals for operations and treatment.

Nurse Ian Braithwaite, who is part of the team, said: "It's been a learning experience this last year, but I'm really proud. This first year has very much been baby steps for us. Hopefully soon we'll be flying at weekends and be able to carry larger patients. We also have planning permission for a helicopter landing pad just outside our base."

The team, which is based at Capitol Park in Dodworth, was featured in a BBC documentary earlier this year which told patient stories.

One of those featured was Jake Steele, of Monk Bretton, who needed an urgent operation after being born with blocked nasal passages which meant he could not feed and breathe at the same time.

The day-old baby was transferred from Barnsley Hospital to Sheffield's Jessop Wing Hospital, and then days later to Sheffield Children's Hospital.

The helicopter used to transfer patients is the Children's Air Ambulance and is based in Coventry.

It is the first and only dedicated helicopter emergency transfer service for children and cost about £800,000.

It is funded through donations to the Children's Air Ambulance which needs to raise about £134,000 a year.

The Barnsley team often has to care for critically ill young patients on the road, with little of the back-up or equipment available in hospitals.
"We know making that journey as quick as possible would bring them some benefit - a four hour road journey becomes one hour in the helicopter - we can get from London to Leeds in 55 minutes," said Ian.

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