MSP receives assurances over increasing Ambulance calls

SCOTTISH AMBULANCE SERVICE chiefs have admitted that demand for their services is increasing such that greater resources need to be brought into play in Moray.

An assurance came after a third meeting between Moray’s MSP Richard Lochhead and the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) chief executive on Wednesday.

Concerns have been raised in the region over the level of service being offered, with several instances of delays in arrival at accident scenes – including one last weekend that saw Police being asked to respond.

While appreciating efforts had been made by the SAS to address issues raised at previous meetings, Mr Lochhead made it clear to Ms Howie when they met yesterday that much more needs to be done.

Following Wednesday’s meeting the MSP said: “This was my third meeting with Pauline Howie in the past year to discuss the ongoing pressures facing the Scottish Ambulance Service in Moray.

“I do welcome the steps taken in recent months to address some of these pressures but I conveyed in the strongest terms to Ms Howie that I am very concerned by what I have heard from local staff and constituents that convince me much more needs to be done.

“I urged management to invest more resources in tackling the number of hospital transfers that emergency vehicles are having to carry out which effectively makes Moray based ambulances unavailable to answer local calls for several hours at a time.

“I welcome the commitment by Ms Howie to review the deployment and staffing of the special vehicle that is available to carry out such work that in turns means the A & E ambulances don’t have to be used. I was also informed that the term of the new post based at Dr Gray’s to co-ordinate hospitals transfers is to be extended.

“I also raised the number of hours some Moray based ambulances in our more rural stations are single manned or where on call staff are unavailable due to having worked long shifts. This in turn puts more pressure on ambulance crews elsewhere in Moray as well as leading to very stressful working conditions for staff.

“SAS management agreed that demand on the service is increasing all the time so it is therefore essential that adequate resources are invested in Moray’s ambulance provision to avoid unacceptable response times and overworked and over stretched staff.

“The vast majority of the time, the public receive a first class response from our hard working ambulance service but there are some serious pressures having a detrimental impact. I look forward to hearing back from SAS management about how they intend to address local concerns.”