Orkney's MSP, Liam McArthur, has today (Tuesday) repeated calls on Ministers to commit to increase ambulance capacity in Orkney.
Speaking during a debate on the crisis facing Scotland's ambulance service, Mr McArthur reminded Ministers that lack of ambulance capacity in Orkney "pre-dates the pandemic" and called for assurances that new resources will be used to address the long-standing need in Orkney for a second land ambulance.
Mr McArthur warned Ministers that the single ambulance covering the entire Orkney mainland and linked south isles during most of the week at present is placing serious pressure on ambulance crews as well as out of hours GPs. In turn, he added, this “puts the public in Orkney at risk".
Last year, Liam McArthur also revealed that the Orkney mainland had been left twice without ambulance cover between 1st December 2018 and 18th December 2019 due to a lack of staffing with 168 occasions when the ambulance was called out and unavailable to respond to other incidents
Commenting afterwards, Mr McArthur said:
“Ambulance crews in Orkney, as with elsewhere in the country, do outstanding work. However, they need to have the resources to do the job in keeping our communities safe.
“In Orkney, that is not made any easier by having only one land ambulance available for most of the time. As I have repeatedly made clear to Scottish Ambulance Service and Scottish Ministers, this is inadequate to meet our needs.
“As a result, added pressure is put on our ambulance crews as well as out-of-hours doctors, at a time of extraordinary demand on the NHS. It also puts the wider public at greater risk.
"With greater resources being put in to tackle the national crisis currently facing Scotland's ambulance service, Ministers must use this opportunity to finally address the long-standing shortfall in ambulance capacity in Orkney. This is the least we owe our hard-working ambulance crews as well as the Orkney public."