MSP calls for more ambulances and upgrade of patient transport service

MSP Jackie Baillie calls for more ambulances and better patient transport services.

By Bill Heaney

Constituency MSP, Jackie Baillie, has called for additional investment in the Scottish Ambulance Service.

A Freedom of Information request reveals that thousands of patients whose illness was categorised as ‘Immediately Life Threatening’ waited longer than the target time of under eight minutes for an ambulance.

The figures released by the Scottish Ambulance Service show that more than 23,000 patients with life threatening conditions have waited 8 minutes or longer for an ambulance so far in 2018.

Of those, 612 patients waited longer than 30 minutes, 75 patients waited longer than an hour and five patients waited longer than two hours for an emergency ambulance.

The response also shows that 23,845 patients in this category waited longer than eight minutes in 2017, 48,352 in 2016, 48,505 in 2015 and 39,590 in 2014.

Emergency calls were re-categorised after 2016 which may explain the dramatically improved performance in ambulances meeting their targets.

Jackie Baillie said: “Paramedics and our health care staff work hard to ensure that patients’ needs are met every single day, but demand on the service is increasing.

“Patients are being left in pain and distress waiting for ambulances due to shortages in the system. It is clear that investment in the Scottish Ambulance Service is desperately needed.

“It is simply not acceptable to have thousands of patients with life threatening conditions waiting for longer than eight minutes for an ambulance.

“It is time the SNP invested properly in our whole healthcare system, including the Scottish Ambulance Service, to ensure patients get the care that they need and NHS staff are properly supported.”

erskine bridge 2018

Erskine Bridge, which patients have to cross for hospital appointments.

Meanwhile, Jackie Baillie, has revealed that hundreds of patients were turned down for patient transport through the Scottish Ambulance Service and hundreds more had their transport cancelled at the last minute due to an increasing demand for the service.

An FOI response from the Scottish Ambulance Service shows that 781 patients from the Vale of Leven Hospital catchment area had their requests for patient transport turned down last year.

And an additional 140 patients had their patient transport cancelled 24 hours in advance of their appointment.

The service states that one of the key reasons for patient transport not being able to meet the requests of patients is because a significant number of patients are travelling further distances for treatment.

Jackie said: “Vulnerable patients are being left without transport to hospital appointments as the Scottish Ambulance Service is struggling to keep up with the increasing demand.

“This further highlights the need for health services to be available for patients locally. It is very difficult for patients from the Vale of Leven hospital catchment area to make it to appointments on the other side of the river, and especially so when they are ill.

 “The Scottish Ambulance Service need to invest in more vehicles and staff to cope with the increased demand and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde need to rethink their plans to centralise services.”

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