NSW retrieval services

NSW is a vast territory and delivering the required care in a timely fashion to the critically injured patient is not always possible with traditional road ambulances and paramedics. At times it is best to bring specialist clinicians, equipment and rapid transport to the injured patient.

Specialist pre-hospital teams can be tasked to the scene of the injury, known as primary missions, to assist the road crews in the management of complex trauma patients and rapidly transport them to the nearest appropriate trauma service.

These same teams may also be tasked to conduct interhospital transfers, known as secondary missions, if it is determined that the trauma patient needs are beyond that which a given hospital can deliver.

The specialist teams and associated road, helicopter and fixed wing assets are coordinated by the Aeromedical Operations Centre of the Ambulance Service of NSW (ASNSW) in Sydney.

There a 2 specialist medical retrieval services which conduct the majority of trauma retrievals across NSW. These are the Aeromedical and Medical Retrieval Service (AMRS); and the Newborn and paediatric Emergency Transport Service (NETS). These two services also provide consultant level clinical advice, supporting clinicians caring for complex trauma patients whilst they await the arrival of the retrieval team.

These statewide services, in conjunction with regional retrieval services, conduct retrievals by road, helicopter and fixed wing.

Helicopter services

The helicopter services in NSW are spread across the state reaching the vast majority of the population. The ASNSW, through the Greater Sydney Area Helicopter Emergency Medical Service, conducts the largest number of helicopter missions in NSW. The other regional helicopter services, whilst not directly a part of the ASNSW, have a contract with NSW Health to provide helicopter services to their local area. All helicopter services are coordinated and tasked through the central Aeromedical Control Centre.


  • Sydney (Bankstown Airport) - Greater Sydney Area Helicopter Emergency Medical Service
  • Sydney (Westmead) - CareFlight
  • Sydney (Westmead) - Telstra Child Flight
  • Wollongong - Greater Sydney Area Helicopter Emergency Medical Service
  • Orange - Greater Sydney Area Helicopter Emergency Medical Service
  • Newcastle - Westpac Rescue Helicopter
  • Tamworth - Westpac Rescue Helicopter
  • Lismore - Westpac Rescue Helicopter
  • Canberra - Snowy Hydro South Care

Fixed wing services

Air Ambulance, the fixed wing service of the ASNSW, is located at Sydney Airport, Mascot. The aircraft, pilot and ground support staff are supplied by the Royal Flying Doctor Service, whilst the clinical staff are from ASNSW. Often the clinical staff consists of expert nurses, with the option of teaming up with retrieval doctors from the Greater Sydney Area Helicopter Emergency Medical Service if the particular case requires it.


  • Sydney (Sydney Airport, Mascot) - ASNSW
  • Dubbo - Royal Flying Doctor Service
  • Broken Hill - Royal Flying Doctor Service

See also



Contact us



View all ITIM tweets


Loading latest video...

See all videos