29 July 2016

MP & MSP Comment on Ambulance Service Article

Commenting on press reports regarding ambulance response times in the North-east, Banff & Buchan MP, Dr Eilidh Whiteford said:

“My colleague, Stewart Stevenson MSP, and I have been in ongoing communication with the Cabinet Secretary for Health, the Scottish Ambulance Service and NHS Grampian over the past two years following concerns which were expressed at that time. Meetings have taken place with the Chief Executives of both organisations, senior regional management and front-line emergency personnel, with a view to meeting those challenges.

“It became clear that the Ambulance Service had been experiencing difficulty retaining skilled personnel, and this was a particular concern in the North east, where there were more highly-paid opportunities arising within the Oil & Gas industry. As a result of those meetings, a recruitment initiative was launched to bring the ambulance stations in North Aberdeenshire up to a full staff complement, which has already seen a number of recruits undertake training at Glasgow Caledonian University and more applicants have come forward. The downturn in the Oil & Gas sector has also seen the welcome return of some skilled personnel to the public sector.

“An additional ambulance and supporting paramedic team has since been deployed at Peterhead Ambulance Station, and a pilot scheme for dealing with emergency out-of-hospital cardiac arrest cases was launched in Turriff in partnership with Scottish Fire & Rescue Services. That exercise met with considerable success, and is to be rolled out to other areas.”

Stewart Stevenson MSP

“Following discussions with the Cabinet Secretary for Health, a commitment has recently been made that 1,000 new paramedics will be trained to work in the Scottish Ambulance Service over the next five years. The Scottish Government is investing £5 million in 2016/17 to deliver 200 new paramedics who will begin training this year. These new paramedics will be recruited by up-skilling the existing ambulance technician workforce, and their places are being backfilled by the recruitment and training of 200 new technicians.

“Dr. Whiteford and I fully expect that such decisive action will continue to bring about substantial improvements to the performance of the Scottish Ambulance Service over the coming months, and commend the emergency crews for their hard work and unwavering commitment to public safety.”

Stewart Stevenson
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