Ambulance call-out responses over 10 minutes nearly doubled in four years

27 August 2018, 07:05

Ambulance generic

Ambulance call-out responses which took more than 10 minutes have nearly doubled over four years, according to official figures.

The figures were published after a request by Scottish Labour MSP Daniel Johnson to the Scottish Government about the emergency service's performance.

In 2014/15 there were 153,878 incidents which took more than 10 minutes to respond to, compared with 305,061 in 2017/18.

However the Scottish Government said the data does not take into account a new system which was brought in to help ambulance workers reach urgent cases sooner.

Mr Johnson said: "Our ambulance staff perform lifesaving work every day, but are under pressure like never before, and these are shocking figures which will concern many members of the public.

"It's well known that for a number of illnesses a swift response time can make all the difference.

"Not only are thousands of Scots having to wait more than two hours for an ambulance, we know that the number of ambulances being dispatched with a single crew has rocketed.

"These new figures make clear that the SNP government is continually letting down the public and letting down paramedics due to its chronic under-funding of our NHS.

"Labour would invest in the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS), ensuring it has the equipment and staff it needs to continue its life-saving work."

The Scottish Government has committed to help the SAS train an additional 1,000 paramedics over the course of this parliament.

Funding of almost £900 million has been given to the service over the last four years, with a 16.5% rise in staffing levels over the last decade.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "These figures don't reference the fact the Scottish Ambulance Service have introduced a new triage system, allowing them to reach those who are seriously ill as quickly as possible.

"While response time is important, it is also the clinical expertise of ambulance teams that saves lives.

"Our ambulance crews care for patients in some of the most remote parts of the UK.

"Even then, they reached 75% of patients in under 10 minutes and 96% within 20 minutes across the whole of Scotland in 2017, saving more lives year on year."