Moray family spark a national change of heart for emergency services

Fire and Rescue vehicles could be called to offer emergency medical aid.
Fire and Rescue vehicles could be called to offer emergency medical aid.

THE CAMPAIGN BY a Moray family and their friends to have life-saving equipment installed in police patrol cars with officers trained to use them has gone national.

Following the tragic death of their son Keiran in a road accident in March, Gordon and Sandra McKandie have campaigned to raise funding for defibrillators to be placed in every traffic police car in Moray.

Police were first to arrive at the scene when Keiran’s bike was struck by a car – but they did not have the equipment that might have saved his life.

Ambulance and Fire Service vehicles do carry the life-saving emergency equipment – but the ambulance that day took almost half an hour to arrive, while there was no automatic procedure in place for emergency service operators to call out the fire and rescue service in such situations.

Gordon and Sanda met with and received support from local MSP Richard Lochhead, who arranged a meeting with Health Secretary Shona Robison to discuss the issue.

Now a Scottish Government spokesperson has confirmed that a trial will be carried out in nine areas of Scotland – including Moray – that will see anyone suffering a cardiac arrest having a fire engine dispatched to assist them if operators believe they would arrive more quickly at the scene.

The spokesperson said: “Shona Robison met Sandra and Gordon McKandie to discuss issues involving their son’s death and the Scottish Government have asked to see a copy of the Scottish Ambulance Service report following their investigation into the tragic incident.

“We would expect any learning from this to be used to make improvements wherever applicable.”

Funds raised by the McKandie family and friends will be sufficient to purchase 10 defibrillators – with the spokesperson saying these will be used throughout the region: “The 10 defibrillators will be trialled in the Grampian area for six months from the end of October as part of the Scottish Government’s Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Strategy.

“Police Scotland and the Scottish Ambulance Service will evaluate the trial and, if effective, consider rolling out this model across Scotland in the longer term, working with partners to achieve this.”

Speaking in a Sunday newspaper today, Sandra McKandie welcome progress made in their campaign, saying: “It makes sense that when emergency operators know an ambulance is far away and a fire crew is closer, then the fire crew could be sent to offer assistance. It happens sometimes but not all the time.”

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