Acute Transport Group (ATG)

PCCS Acute Transport Group (ATG) is a subgroup of the Paediatric Critical Care Society and any work undertaken by this group is on behalf of PCCS.


  • To provide a consultative forum that can effectively provide advice on current and future direction for the Paediatric Intensive Care Transport Services.
  • To provide advice and support on the planning, implementation, monitoring and reporting of the ATG activities to the Paediatric Critical Care Society.
  • To provide a forum to consider issues arising from the ATG that may be relevant to group members and their parent organisations/region.
  • To maximise opportunities for partnerships, networking and information sharing in relation to PIC transport.
  • To facilitate the standardisation of an education and training programme for PIC transport.
  • To establish a national governance arrangement for all transport services to report in to in order to minimise risk and to inform best practice.

Overview of PIC Transport Services

Over the last fifteen years, there has been a move away from PICUs operating their own retrieval services to the development of regional transport services for critically ill children. This Google Maps link illustrates the current service provision across the UK. The UK is divided into commissioning regions with each region covered by a PIC Transport Service.



Embrace Yorkshire & Humber Infant & Children’s Transport Service has been operational since 6th December 2009. The service meets the standards set by the UK Paediatric Intensive Care Society, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence Specialist Neonatal Care Quality Standard and the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems for the provision of specialist transport services by ground and air.

The host organisation for Embrace is Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust – one of only four independent children’s Trusts in the UK.

Team Leads

Contact Details

Education & Training

The on-going education and development of all team members remains a priority for Embrace. To achieve this goal the education team have developed an education plan reflecting SC(NHS)FT, PICS, NTG and CAMTS guidance to achieve local, national, and international standards. The education plan has been delivered at both a trust level in mandatory training sessions and by the Embrace education team.

In-House Education

A continued focus for the education team has been to maintain the requirements to achieve CAMTS reaccreditation. Clinical procedures highlighting high risk, low frequency events remain a key part of the education plan to maintain high standards of knowledge and skills throughout the Embrace team. The Annual Update courses have been utilised to reinforce key standard operating procedures and develop team situational awareness and communication. They are interactive and multidisciplinary, involving the whole team across medical and nursing staff, call-handlers, and drivers. Our competency document has been revised and updated to incorporate both neonatal and paediatric national standards. Rotating Specialist Trainees all completed the new competency document, attended the SC(NHS)FT induction for medical staff as well as a two-week induction programme at Embrace combining theoretical knowledge and practical skills and scenarios training and testing. Our quarterly Procedures, Equipment, and Skills Training continues to drive our team forwards providing a rhythm to ongoing competency requirements. We have a new high-fidelity manikin which is providing great opportunities during simulations. We regularly drill MAJAX and Post Accident Incident Plans.

Outreach Education

Members of the Embrace team from all disciplines have delivered regional outreach education in the form of talks, small group teaching, in-situ simulation and OSCE’s covering the Embrace process, reviewing data and clinical cases. We have had an increasing number of observers visit and accompany the transport team from nursing specialities, anaesthesia, emergency medicine, neonatal and paediatric backgrounds. Members of the Embrace team also provide their time and expertise to teach on accredited life support and resuscitation courses regionally, nationally, and internationally, as well as specialist airway courses. Embrace continues to work closely with the Neonatal and Paediatric Operational Delivery Networks to assist with the delivery of regional training relating to transport.

Useful links

Yorkshire and Humber Paediatric Critical Care Network –

The Yorkshire & Humber Paediatric Critical Care Operational Delivery Network works collaboratively with 14 Trusts (19 hospital sites). This includes 2 tertiary units providing level 3 critical care in Leeds and Sheffield as well as Embrace, the Yorkshire & Humber Infant and Children’s Transport Service. The role of the ODN is to coordinate patient pathways between providers over a wide area to ensure access to specialist resources and expertise. The provider units and the PCCODN work together to share learning, experience, knowledge, skills, and best practice for the benefit of all. Y&HPCCODN provides education and training in recognition, stabilisation, and short-term management of critically ill children. 


North East & Cumbria Transport and Retrieval


NECTAR is the regional transport service for the North East and North Cumbria (NENC). We carry out transfers of acutely and critically ill, paediatric, and adult patients by land and fixed wing air transport.

The Northern Neonatal Transport Service (NNeTS) will almost exclusively transfer babies into or out of a NICU or SCBU (regardless of destination if moving out).

The Paediatric critical care transport is provided 24/7 by highly trained members of the transport team. NECTAR transport practitioners are an integral part of the Assessment Intervention & Support Team (ASSIST) supporting the clinical teams that manage unwell children within the Great North Children’s Hospital.

Leadership Team

Contact Details:

Education & Training

NECTAR provides outreach education in various formats (webinars, MDT stabilisation days, in-situ sim training etc) for clinicians in the NENC region.

  • Retrieval Education and Development Information (READI)
  • READI Day Foundation
  • READI Day Intermediate
  • READI Day Advanced

You can find more details on our website here.

Useful Links:

  • North East and North Cumbria Paediatric Critical Care and Surgery In Children – ODN Website: Home page
  • The Northern Neonatal Transport Service – Website: NNeTS


Northern Ireland Specialist Transport & Retrieval (NISTAR)


NISTAR is the combined critical care transfer and retrieval service for Northern Ireland and incorporates the neonatal, paediatric, and adult critical care services.  It also includes a paediatric nurse led transfer service.  Approximately 1400 patients are transferred by NISTAR annually.  In addition, NISTAR provides advice, support, education, and training to hospitals on the safe transfer of critically ill patients.


Contact Details


Southampton Oxford Retrieval Team (SORT)


SORT is the paediatric critical care commissioned transport service and PICU advice line for the Thames Valley & Wessex network. It is formed by two transport hubs, based in Southampton & Oxford with cross cover provided. Two teams are available 24/7. It provides expert critical care advice and transport as needed. Transport can be via land, fixed wing aircraft, helicopter or boat. 

Leadership Team

Southampton Hub:

Oxford Hub:


  • Website:
  • Twitter Southampton Hub: @SORT_Soton
  • Twitter Oxford Hub: @SORT_Oxford
  • Referral Hotline (For patient referral by clinical teams only):023 8077 5502
  • Address: Lead Hub based at Southampton Children’s Hospital, PICU, D-Level, Tremona Road, Southampton, SO16 6YD


South Thames Retrieval Service (STRS) Team


The South Thames Retrieval Service (STRS) is an intensive care service, transporting critically ill children from local hospitals to intensive care units (PICUs).

Our team is made up of doctors and nurses from our intensive care unit who are specially trained in stabilising and transferring critically ill children. The STRS team give advice to staff at district general hospitals before their arrival to transfer a child. They then provide intensive care to the child before they leave hospital and while travelling in the ambulance, helicopter or plane. They hand over patient care once the child is settled into a PICU.

Two teams are available to transport children 24 hours, 7 days a week. When they are not transporting children, the team are working within the Evelina London intensive care unit.


  • Manal Alasnag – Lead STRS

  • Emma Broom – STRS Coordinator and CNS

  • Jenni Lambert – Deputy Lead STRS

  • Grace Banks – Lead Nurse STRS/ANP

  • Hannah Fisher – STRS secondment

  • Jo Dyer – STRS Nurse Educator/ANP

Contact Details


Wales and West Acute Transport for Children (WATCh)


The Wales and West Acute Transport for Children Service (WATCh) is a jointly commissioned team responsible for the safe transfer of critically ill children across South West England and South Wales. The team co-ordinates the transfer of children into the regional PICUs and HDUs in Cardiff and Bristol.

Referral calls from hospital staff are made to the WATCh hotline: the WATCh team will provide management advice for all patients and, together with local clinicians, determine the best place for ongoing care.

Scope of Practice

WATCh are commissioned to provide transport for critically ill children across the South West of England and South Wales. This includes transport into the Paediatric Critical Care Units in Bristol and Cardiff; for specialist care in quaternary referral centres across the UK; repatriation of children from the critical care units for ongoing care in their local hospitals; and transfer to hospices or home for end of life care.

WATCh Team

  • Lead Consultant: Dora Wood
  • Deputy Lead Consultants: Michelle Jardine, Adrian Humphry
  • Lead Nurse: Claire Perrett

Contact Details

Education & Training

In-House: In addition to induction and annual update days for all staff groups and regular flight education, WATCh co-host the Transport “Case of the Week” (COW), an interactive weekly teaching session based around a recent transport conundrum. A rolling programme of in-house simulation is in development.

Region: WATCh provide an annual “Roadshow” training and feedback day for each District General Hospital in the region. The TiCToC (Time Critical Transfer of Children) will be delivered as a regular programme across South West England District General Hospitals from late 2023. WATCh staff also contribute to critical training in a number of settings across the region including the Regional Children’s Nurse Forum for South West England, the All Wales PHDU Network meetings and regional nurse and medical study days. The team link with the Bristol Faculty of Children’s Education and regional Universities for the Paediatric Critical Care and HDU courses.

Useful Links:

The South West network is one of 10 Paediatric Critical Care Operational Delivery Networks in England. The network provides the opportunity to bring together key stakeholders from across the region, including clinicians, providers, commissioners, patients and their families to make changes across complex systems of care in order to improve outcomes for our patients and to ensure the best possible care for children across the South West region.