Providing access to life-saving care

New £1.1 million base officially opened in Aberdeen.

A new base for Scotland’s emergency adult retrieval service has been officially opened by Health Secretary Jeane Freeman. Using helicopters, planes or fast response vehicles, the ScotSTAR North base in Aberdeen provides potentially life-saving pre-hospital care for trauma patients and for other critically ill patients.

The consultant-led teams at the £1.1 million base are on hand to provide major incident pre-hospital medical response, retrievals of patients with major trauma, critically ill and critically injured patients and telephone advice to remote and rural hospital staff with regard to resuscitation and safe transfer of patients with critical illness.

With the opening of the ScotSTAR North base, the pre-hospital critical care teams join the teams at the base in Glasgow to provide services that now cover the whole of Scotland.

Ms Freeman said:

“This new centre complements the services of the Scottish Trauma Network which will improve outcomes at every stage of the trauma patient journey, from pre-admission to rehabilitation.

“ScotSTAR North builds on the work being undertaken by our newly opened Major Trauma Centres in Aberdeen and Dundee linking up the resources, expertise and infrastructure of NHS Boards and the Scottish Ambulance Service. The new centre ensures that critical care across Scotland is of the highest standard.

“The Scottish Government is committed to enhancing national collaboration and sharing best practice to continuously improve patient care, investing £10.2m in 2018/19, and a further £18.2m in 2019/20.”

ScotSTAR North Clinical Lead for the Adult team Dr Alastair Ross said:

“We are delighted to deliver this service from the ScotSTAR North base in Aberdeen as part of our ongoing commitment to improved patient care across Scotland. Working closely together, the teams bring high-quality specialist care to patients by road and air, that best meet patient needs.

“The team is available 24/7 providing consultant-delivered critical care and safe transfer to definitive care for patients in remote healthcare locations and at accident scenes. Adult North is a key component of the Scottish Trauma Network and will improve the care of seriously ill and injured patients across Scotland.”


ScotSTAR (Scottish Specialist Transport and Retrieval) is the national emergency medical retrieval service, run by the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS), which draws together previously separate elements of specialist patient transport and retrieval. ScotSTAR began with one base, adjacent to Glasgow Airport, and now have two, following the opening of ScotSTAR North at Aberdeen Airport in April 2019.

The Scottish Trauma Network (STN) consists of the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) and hospitals across Scotland – including 4 major trauma centres – working collaboratively, to deliver high quality integrated, multi-specialty care to severely injured patients.

There are around 800-1,000 cases being defined as ‘major trauma’ in Scotland annually. It is estimated that there are also 100 cases of major trauma in children under 16 each year.


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