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Project Artemis: national coordination of paediatric critical care retrievals


Bruce Wicksteed
Paediatric Critical Care Retrieval Service (PCCRS), Aeromedical Innovation Australasia, Health Department of Western Australia, LifeFlight Medical Air Ambulance, St John Ambulance (WA)


Bruce Wicksteed is an experienced critical care Registered Nurse, Ambulance Paramedic, and Flight Paramedic.  With over 20 years of clinical experience in acute tertiary hospital settings including 10 years in Paediatric Intensive Care as a Clinical Nurse, and more than 5 years in pre-hospital settings including metropolitan ambulance operations, and high acuity international retrievals.  Bruce has a demonstrated strong professional interest in critical care, paediatrics, retrievals, and prehospital emergency health.
In 2013 Bruce was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to examine models of paediatric retrieval services around the world.



Artemis is an initiative of Aeromedical Innovation Australasia (AIA) Limited promoting improved rural/remote paediatric patient outcomes. We aim to investigate the clinical advantages and cost efficiency of co-ordinating retrievals on a national scale. A standard approach focussed on optimal clinical co-ordination and continuity could enable equitable care delivery to remote populations.  Achievement of equitable access to tertiary critical care services for all Australian children is necessary regardless of geopolitical origin.

We have a five-step plan:

  1. ENGAGE key players in discussion and form a national committee
  2. DEFINE - build a document to reflect current paediatric critical care retrieval activities in Australia and through research of the current systems define any shortfalls in service delivery.
  3. REFINE through committee activity a consensus statement on the ideal system for equitable access throughout Australia
  4. PREPARE for lobbying by engaging a consultant for development of a robust business case
  5. EXECUTE change via a well-designed and managed political campaign

Paediatric critical care retrieval service delivery across Australia is a fragmented mosaic of services currently co-ordinated via state-based systems with limited budgets and jurisdictions, and subsequent inequities in access.  It is becoming clear that the existing provincial approach has limitations.  Some state services excel ahead of others, and it is unfortunate to have this success limited by state borders. The project is intended to facilitate a cultural and operational shift from the limitations of current paradigms, towards a national approach to coordination of paediatric critical care retrieval.  

Achieving inter-organisational collaboration will be essential to permit data collection, cost analysis and prototype development for system re-design.  The audience will be exposed to a new and fresh discussion that challenges existing paradigms and promotes creative thinking in trying to achieve new methods for patient-centred care delivery.



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