Police called in place of Ambulance as more talks scheduled

POLICE HAD TO attend an accident victim in Moray when no ambulance was immediately available, it has been revealed.

The latest incident highlighting serious issues in emergency coverage came when a woman in her 60s fell and broke both wrists when walking her dogs in Elgin.

While an ambulance was called, it became apparent that none was immediately available – so police were despatched to go to her aid, with paramedics finally arriving on the scene almost half an hour later.

Regional MSP Douglas Ross said he found it “unacceptable” that police had to be first responders in an incident where no crime had been committed, adding: “At a time when police resources are stretched in Moray, somebody needs to get a grip of this situation.

“It is another example of the lack of ambulance resources in the region and it is beginning to be a worrying trend.”

The incident happened on Sunday with a Scottish Ambulance Service spokesman commenting that the call was received at 7.21am, adding that: “Every call was prioritised according to clinical need of the patient to ensure the most appropriate resource is sent – the ambulance arrived at 7.54am and one patient in her 60s was taken to Dr Gray’s Hospital.”

The revelation comes as Moray’s MSP Richard Lochhead is set to meet again with the Chief Executive of the Scottish Ambulance Service today for discussions on provision of ambulance services in Moray.

Mr Lochhead has been pressing Pauline Howie for additional resources to be made available in Moray for many months – the Scottish Ambulance Service have responded by funding a Hospital Ambulance Liaison Officer, based at Dr Gray’s, to manage the patient transfers to ARI and Raigmore.

They have also been operating an Urgent Tier ambulance resource which is staffed by an ambulance technician and an ambulance care assistant to provide support locally. Concerns remain, however, that ambulance services have not been delivering adequate improvements to the service in Moray.

Ahead of the meeting today [Wednesday] Mr Lochhead said: “There is no doubt that our hard working local ambulance personnel are often over stretched and this can also have implications for the public. I will therefore be pushing for additional resources for Moray’s ambulance provision.

“Over the past 12 months I have met the Scottish Ambulance Service several times and also Scottish Ministers to discuss what should be done to ensure we have adequate resources available in Moray both in terms of staff numbers and ambulances and how they are deployed.

“I have been given assurances that extra resources are now being deployed and I want to see evidence they are making a positive difference but even if they are there is still much more to be done.

“I am aware that steps taken to date have done little to radically improve local ambulance provision. When I meet with the Chief Executive again I will be urging her to listen the feedback of staff on the front line and to provide the extra resources they need to provide the best service possible for people in Moray.”