By Lucy Ashton
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP, right, has today called on the Scottish Government to support ambulance crews as he revealed that more than 3,000 people faced waiting more than 8 hours for an ambulance last year.
His call comes as figures uncovered by Scottish Liberal Democrats under freedom of information legislation reveal that:
- More than 5,000 people waited more than 7 hours to be attended to and more than 3,000 waited more than 8 hours in 2021/22.
- Around 50% of purple calls in 2021/22 and 2022/23 were seen in less than 9 minutes. Purple is the most serious code and these calls have a 53% rate of cardiac arrest.
- Only 40% of red calls in 2021/22 and at least 35% so far in 2022/23 were attended to in less than the nine-minute target.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said:“When someone is in a moment of crisis and chooses to call 999, they want to know that there will be someone at the other end of the line able to help them.
“These figures should set emergency lights flashing in the Health Secretary’s office. The government has often used the pandemic as an excuse but the former Chief Executive of NHS Scotland Paul Gray has said that a pressure cooker crisis was coming regardless of the pandemic.
“The SNP continuously ignored the warnings of ambulance staff for years. We are now seeing the results of that neglect.
“Scottish Liberal Democrats have called for an inquiry into avoidable emergency care deaths.
“The Health Secretary should admit that he had previously underestimated the scale of the challenge and that the present NHS recovery plan is not up to scratch.”
“Swift action might be the difference between life and death.”