Aberdeenshire residents waiting 'twice as long' for ambulance

Scottish Conservative MSP Peter Chapman said the figures highlighted once again the poor level of cover experienced by parts of the north-east.
Scottish Conservative MSP Peter Chapman said the figures highlighted once again the poor level of cover experienced by parts of the north-east.

Residents in some Aberdeenshire towns are waiting at least twice as long for an ambulance than those in other parts of the region.

Performance statistics from the Scottish Ambulance Service highlight the challenges facing areas that do not have a local station nearby.
In life-threatening situations in 2018, up to October 31, the average length of time taken to respond to a 999 call from Turriff was 18 minutes.
Other problem areas were Aboyne (15 minutes) or the Mearns (15 minutes).
In the worst cases, crews took more than 30 minutes to reach patients in those areas. In contrast, ambulances arrived in Peterhead within seven minutes, while the average for the whole of Grampian was six minutes and 50 seconds - within the national target of eight minutes.
Separate figures obtained following a Freedom of Information request by the Scottish Conservatives last week have also shown that there have been dozens of hoax calls in the past year, including 65 in the North division covering the North-east and Highlands.
Scottish Conservative MSP Peter Chapman, said: “These figures highlight once again the poor level of cover experienced by parts of the north-east. In life-threatening emergency situations, ever second can count.”

A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesperson said: "We prioritise the sickest, most seriously ill patients and as a result of this approach, we have almost doubled survival rates for cardiac arrest patients since 2013. For less ill patients, our call handlers may spend a little more time with the patient to better understand their condition and ensure we get the right, not necessarily the nearest or quickest, response to the patient first time.

“In remote areas of Scotland, we have a range of resources we can deploy depending on the nature of the incident from rapid deployment of our network of Community First Responders, to air support, ambulance crews, paramedic response units or other emergency services if they are nearby.

“We are currently training an additional 1,000 paramedics across Scotland who will further increase our capacity, whilst our £78 million investment programme is introducing 1,000 new vehicles between 2016 and 2020."