Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, has today (Wednesday) raised with Scottish Ministers concerns about a lack of land ambulance cover on mainland Orkney.
During Portfolio Questions, Mr McArthur questioned the Minister for Public Health, Joe Fitzpatrick about how many times emergency calls are waiting while Orkney’s only land ambulance is already responding to a call. He also asked if there had ever been a time in recent months when no land ambulance was available on the mainland for any length of time.
In response, the Minister admitted that it was a matter that needed to be looked at and assured Mr McArthur that he would raise the point directly with the Scottish Ambulance Service when he meets with them tomorrow (Thursday).
Following the exchange, Mr McArthur commented:
“Response times to emergency situations can be the difference between life and death. I have been growing increasingly concerned, therefore, at the current level of land ambulance provision available on the Orkney mainland and linked south isles.
“With only a single land ambulance resource for all but a few hours each week, there appears to be a serious risk that patients who need urgent medical treatment and attention could be forced to wait much longer than they should. That is certainly borne out by some of the cases that have been raised with me over recent months.
“This is certainly no criticism of those providing the service, who are doing their level best. It is, however, an indication that the Scottish Ambulance Service needs to carry out an urgent review of the resources they have available in Orkney. That is the least that the Orkney public and indeed the ambulance crews themselves deserve.
“I plan to meet with the Scottish Ambulance Service next month to press the case for these concerns to be addressed. In the meantime, I welcome the Minister’s offer to raise the issue during his meeting with SAS later this week and hope that this can help lead to a solution being found in the near future”.