ONE THOUSAND NEW paramedics are to be trained to work for the Scottish Ambulance Service over the next five years – and a call is already being made for Moray to top the list.
Last week local MSP Richard Lochhead held a meeting with the chief executive of NHS Grampian – and later this week will meet Pauline Howie, the Chief Executive of the Scottish Ambulance Service.
Following the announcement today by the Scottish Government, Mr Lochhead has said he will call for Moray to be first in line for new paramedic posts.
His meetings were arranged on the back of public concerns and those of the family of a teenager who was killed in a road accident earlier this year. The MSP has been urging a new look at ambulance provision in Moray with a view to greatly increasing the consistency of response times to emergencies in the region.
The MSP has also highlighted concerns over how ambulances in Moray are being used to taxi patients between hospitals – he has subsequently tabled several Parliamentary Questions on the issue.
Commenting today, Mr Lochhead said: “The Scottish Government’s announcement that 1000 new paramedics are to be trained during this parliamentary term is very much welcome and I look forward to discussing how this addition resource can benefit Moray when I meet with the Chief Executive of the Scottish Ambulance Service this week.
“There have been some high profile cases locally which have caused concern about ambulance provision and response times in Moray, which is the background to my meeting with Pauline Howie.
“It is vital that the Ambulance Service recognise that there is an urgent issue here in Moray and that action needs to be taken to make sure we have adequate ambulance resources and that they are being used efficiently.
“Clearly, with an ageing populating there are additional and new pressures on our health service and on patient transport but it is vital that we have a system in place that allows ambulances in Moray to respond quickly to local emergencies, and I will be urging the Scottish Ambulance Service to work with NHS Grampian to ensure that response times do improve.
“I’m confident that we can secure appropriate action that will help ambulance staff, who I know work incredibly hard in often difficult circumstances, and will protect the public who want to know that in the case of an emergency there is a local ambulance available to respond quickly, and these additional paramedic posts announced today will clearly aid that.”