Dumbarton MSP Jackie Baillie and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

By Lucy Ashton

Scottish Labour has said ambulance drivers have been put in “an impossible position” as new figures show the number of ambulances staffed by just one person has risen by 70 per cent in six months.

New information obtained by FOI revealed that between the last quarter of 2020/21 and the second quarter of 2020 the number of single crew ambulance shifts soared from 468 to 797.

Single crewed ambulances pose a risk to patient well being, leaving patients in the back of the ambulance without assistance while the lone crew member drives.

In 2008, then Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon pledged to “eliminate” the practice, describing it as an “issue of deep concern”.

The Scottish Ambulance service claim “ambulances are not single-crewed other than in exceptional circumstances”, however these new figures reveal that since the start of the pandemic this has happened more than 3,500 times.

In the last six months alone, it has happened more than 1,400 times.

This comes as the crisis in ambulances services escalates, with workers sounding the alarm and turnaround times rising.

Scottish Labour’s Health and Covid Recovery spokesperson Jackie Baillie said:  “This sharp rise adds to mounting evidence that the crisis in our ambulance service is completely out of control.

“Single-crewed ambulances put lives at risk and leave ambulance workers in an impossible position.  The SNP were too slow to get a grip on this crisis and they are still falling short.

“We need a real plan to save ambulance services before any more lives are lost.”

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