Talks seek to clear up concerns over ambulance coverage

Talks in Holyrood over ambulance coverage in the North East

A LOCAL MSP has met with senior staff at the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) for discussions over concerns about ambulance cover throughout the north east.

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson met with SAS chief executive Pauline Howie and Milne Weir, the divisional manager of the service, at Holyrood.

The MSP and his Westminster college Eilidh Whiteford MP have held a series of meetings in recent months with senior regional management of the SAS and front-line emergency personnel to examine concerns that there are areas not adequately covered by the ambulance service.

As a result, initiatives such as a recruitment drive to enlist and train more specialist ambulance personnel and increased co-operation with partnership organisations such as Scottish Fire and Rescue have been progressed.

Mr Stevenson, whose constituency includes parts of Moray, said: “As a result of a number of concerns from constituents I felt that it was important to meet with senior personnel from the Scottish Ambulance Service for an update on their progress.

“I was delighted to hear that their national recruitment drive has been very successful and that they are working hard to fill vacancies within the service in the North East. They are also providing a comprehensive training programme for those joining up.

“They assured me that they have been doing extensive engagement within the community over the past 18 months, and that the ambulance service are very much part of a community team approach across the area, working with local partners – which will benefit many people in the long term as well as the short term.

“The SAS has been working on training up more volunteers such as community first responders, and they are encouraging workplaces and schools to engage in CPR training so that the general public are educated in how they can help. More lives are being saved than ever before.”

At the meeting, SAS Chief Executive Pauline Howie said they had identified that seven in 10 of every emergency 999 call could be treated by professionals out with a hospital context, and that the service was working on a more effective joined up care within the community.