CONCERNS OVER AMBULANCE call out times are being raised after it was revealed it can take up to four times longer for an ambulance to arrive in Moray than the NHS Grampian regional average.
It has been reported that no local ambulance crews were available when teenage cyclist Keiran McKandie was tragically killed on the B9010 at Miltonduff last month. That resulted in an ambulance being re-directed when heading to its Tomintoul base – taking 27 minutes to arrive at the scene.
Earlier on the same day a Lossiemouth man, William Rodden, died when he fell from a wall in the town – ambulances from Nairn and Buckie were called to the scene, the Buckie unit arriving at the scene 16 minutes after the call was logged.
A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesman said that in both situations local crews based in Elgin had been “dealing with other incidents”.
Local MP Angus Robertson said that it was understandable that high call volumes can place an occasional strain on emergency services. However, he pledged to probe further into the circumstances in Moray and establish if greater cover is required.
The MP said: “It is a concern to hear that there has been a shortage of ambulances on two recent occasions, especially when people have sadly lost their lives.
“It is a highly distressing time for the families and friends of the victims of these tragedies – it is important that there is confidence in our emergency services.”
A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesman confirmed that the day of the tragic accidents was a busy one for local ambulance crews, adding that the average response time to a potentially life-threatening calls in Grampian is around seven and a half minutes.
He added: “In a potentially life-threatening emergency the nearest available ambulance is always dispatched straight away – at the time of both these incidents, local crews in Elgin were busy dealing with other patients.
“Two ambulances, one in Nairn and another from Buckie, were sent to Lossiemouth and the Buckie crew were first on the scene after 16 minutes. A Tomintoul ambulance responding from Dr Gray’s in Elgin was the first ambulance on scene at the incident on the B9010 in around 27 minutes. It was closely followed by an air ambulance and road ambulance from Inverness.”
Mr Robertson confirmed that he would be writing to the ambulance service “seeking further clarity on these incidents to understand whether there is a need for increased cover in the area”.