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Regional ambulance service for young launched

A new ambulance service which will travel thousands of miles a year transporting the region’s sickest babies and children from hospital to the nearest specialist intensive care unit was launched today (Wednesday 7 April).

The Acute Neonatal Transport Service (ANTS), which for many years transported pre-term mums and new-borns, now becomes the Paediatric and Neonatal Decision and Support Retrieval service (PaNDR).

The name change highlights that the service, based at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, now transports seriously ill children right up to 16 years across Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.

The aim is to ease pressure between 11.30am and 9.30pm seven days a week on the current paediatric transport provider, London’s Children’s Acute Transport Service (CATS), which will continue to assist outside those hours and full-time in the rest of the region.

The new PaNDR ambulance with the team behind the initiative
Pictured (from left) are crew members Nathalie Sutton and Stewart Reid with Erin Thake, eight, her mum, ACT CEO Shelly Thake and (front) PaNDR service lead, Dr Sue Broster

To make the changes possible PaNDR has invested in a new ambulance and driver, from St John. Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT) raised £216,000 to fund the brand new children’s ambulance service, with help from the Chariots of Fire relay race in September 2019 which raised £92,897.

Specialist equipment purchased includes a defibrillator, monitors, pumps, oxygen and ventilators attached to a size adjustable trolley-bed where young patients of all heights and weight can be cared for by a dedicated paediatric consultant and nurse with backgrounds in intensive care.

The existing three neonatal ambulances, all of which have been funded with generous donations to ACT, operate right across the East of England, are equipped with similar life-saving equipment which is mounted under an incubator on wheels.

From today the new ambulance will feature the PaNDR name and panda logo and staff will be dressed in dark blue uniforms with gold trim. Livery on the remaining three will be updated as the ambulances are replaced. The ambulances regularly transfer patients to Addenbrooke’s as it has the region’s largest neonatal intensive care unit and only paediatric intensive care unit. This service will also repatriate patients to their local hospitals, once well enough.

Deputy medical director and PaNDR service lead, Dr Sue Broster
Deputy medical director and PaNDR service lead, Dr Sue Broster

Deputy medical director and PaNDR service lead, Dr Sue Broster, said:

This is an excellent example of three ambulance services – PaNDR, St John and CATS – working together to give patients in this region the very best service possible.

Deputy medical director and PaNDR service lead, Dr Sue Broster

“We also want to extend out thanks to ACT, which has been a constant and loyal supporter throughout the history of ANTS and again now it has made this important transition to PaNDR.”

ACT CEO Shelly Thake
ACT CEO Shelly Thake

ACT CEO, Shelly Thake, added

We are delighted to be able to support the new children’s ambulance service and would like to thank all those members of the public who have been so generous with their donations.

ACT CEO, Shelly Thake

Anyone who wants to make a donation to ACT should visit

The new PaNDR website can be visited at