A NEW integrated transport and retrieval service for critically ill NHS patients in Scotland goes live today.

The ScotSTAR scheme, expected to cost £9.3 million a year, brings together the Scottish Neonatal Service, the Transport of Critically Ill and Injured Children Service and the Emergency Medical Retrieval Service, into one national specialist unit co-ordinated by the Scottish Ambulance Service.

The teams will move into a purpose-built facility next year at Glasgow Airport.

Health Secretary Alex Neil said: "This will bring greater efficiencies and ensure there is consistency across Scotland for how our most critically ill adults, babies and children are transported."