McArthur hosts joint meeting on isles first responders' provision

Orkney's MSP, Liam McArthur, has hosted a joint meeting with Scottish Ambulance Service and NHS Orkney to discuss the community first responder network in the isles.

It follows concerns raised by responders in some of the North Isles who have talked of leaving the service.  In some instances, this is due to frustration at inconsistencies in the way responders in different islands are treated by the Scottish Ambulance Service.  Others are concerned about increased responsibility being placed on responders as a result of potential changes in healthcare provision in the isles.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament last month, Mr McArthur urged the Health Secretary to ensure that NHS Orkney and SAS are supported, including financially, to develop models that work in an island context and provide greater consistency of support to community responders.

Commenting after the meeting, Mr McArthur said:

"Concerns have been raised with me by some of the first responders in Eday about inconsistencies in the way responders are treated in different islands. I have been involved in discussions with Scottish Ambulance Service and NHS Orkney over a number of months, in an attempt to get a resolution to this issue.

"First responders play a crucial role in helping keep their communities safe. It is important that they feel supported and valued in carrying out these roles, and they are treated with fairness.

"SAS and NHS Orkney both acknowledge this and have agreed to work closely over the coming weeks to identify potential options. I welcome this commitment and hope that real progress can be made ahead of our follow up meeting next month."

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