Orkney MSP Liam McArthur today hosted further meetings in Orkney with senior representatives of the Scottish Ambulance Service.
Commenting, Liam McArthur MSP said:
"The meetings in Stronsay, Westray and Papa Westray this week have been extremely worthwhile. Given the critical importance of the air ambulance service to our island communities, it is essential that the Scottish Ambulance Service continues to engage regularly and constructively with local GPs, nurses and responders as well as the wider public to identify where the service can be improved.
"The new helicopter, while still based in Inverness, does at least offer the opportunity of speeding up response times to Orkney. The larger aircraft will also largely remove the unacceptable situation where patients, particularly young children and the elderly, are unable to be escorted by a family member.
"However, it is also clear from the meetings that improvements can still be made, not least in terms of communications. We also heard about the need to provide better support for community responders in the islands. These are issues I will be ensuring are followed up in the coming weeks.
"Overall, however, I am grateful to Andy Moir and the SAS for continuing to engage in this way with our island communities. While there are similar issues affecting all of them, each island has its own unique characteristics. It is all the more important, therefore, that Mr Moir and his colleagues spend time visiting each island and meeting those who rely so heavily upon a service that genuinely can make the difference between life and death."