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Increase in ambulances for critically unwell children

A specialist ambulance service for critically unwell children, run by Cambridge University Hospitals, has been extended into Essex, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire from today.

The Paediatric and Neonatal Decision Support and Retrieval Service, known as PaNDR, has been in operation for children in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire since April 2021, but is being extended across the East of England from 1 April 2022.

PaNDR team, shot 800 x 533
One of the PaNDR teams

Six teams of consultants, critical care nurses and St John Ambulance drivers crew the vehicles operating 24/7 from the Rosie Hospital in Cambridge. Using bespoke equipment, they transport critically unwell babies and children who require care in an intensive care unit, from hospitals across the East of England.

PaNDR Lead Dr Sue Broster said: "We are dedicated to delivering high standards of care for babies and children and are pleased to extend our service within the region. From Kings Lynn to Harlow, we are available 24/7 to take our youngest patients to where they need to go for critical care.

The PaNDR service is part of a wider vision for children’s services, which also includes the Cambridge Children’s Hospital. The hospital, which has just received planning permission, will treat children from the East of England and will be a new purpose-built building integrating physical and mental health.

Dr Sue Broster

The service has been in place for pre-term babies in the region since 2003 and is funded by NHS England.

Life-saving equipment for two new ambulances was purchased for PaNDR from funds raised by Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT). More than £92,000 from Cambridge’s ‘Chariots of Fire’ race in 2019 contributed to a total fund of £216,000, which has been spent on specialist kit including incubators and breathing aids.

Watch a video about the PaNDR service below.

A video about the PaNDR service

A video about the PaNDR service


The Children’s Acute Transport Service (CATS) previously provided this service in the East of England. Two hospitals, Watford and Luton and Dunstable, will have a phased transition to the PaNDR service.