The Wales & West Acute Transport for Children service (WATCh) is the team that provides acute management advice and inter-hospital transport for children in South Wales and South West England. WATCh is a joint partnership between between the two paediatric intensive care units in Cardiff and Bristol. The team is funded on a 24-hour basis to provide immediate management advice and transport of children requiring intensive care support. Where possible, the team will also undertake the transport of children requiring an uplift of care to a high-dependency unit at one of the lead centres and undertake back-transfers of children to referring centres to promote patient flow.
All referral calls should be made to the dedicated WATCh line – 0300 0300 789. After providing some basic contact details, referrers will have immediate access to advice from WATCh clinical staff. Depending on the nature of the call, WATCh will agree a management plan with the referring team: this may result in the child being transferred, or it may be decided that they can stay locally with ongoing management advice. If a child does need intensive care support, in the first instance the team will always try to find a bed in the local PICU – Cardiff for children from Wales and Bristol for those from South West England. If there is no bed in Cardiff or Bristol, WATCh will undertake to find a bed in the nearest PICU and transfer the patient. Children with specific care needs, such as cardiac patients, will be transferred to Bristol from both Wales and South West England.
The make-up of the WATCh team will be determined at the point of referral by the WATCh consultant. WATCh utilises staff in a variety of roles, including Consultants with backgrounds in PICU, Paediatric Anaesthesia and Neonatology; middle grade staff from Paediatrics, Emergency Medicine, Intensive Care and Anaesthesia; Advanced Transport Nurse Practitioners and specialist Transport Nurses. The team always has immediate access to advice from the WATCh consultant and the transfer of each child is always discussed collaboratively between the referrer, WATCh and the accepting PICU Consultant.
Finally, in partnership with the lead PICUs, WATCh is responsible for providing outreach support and education through the regional roadshows.