McArthur requests action following air ambulance mistake

Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has today written to Scottish Ambulance Service Chief Executive, Pauline Howie, expressing serious concern at reports that a recent air ambulance flight, responding to a call out in Orkney, flew instead to Shetland.

The air ambulance, with an incubator on board, was called to the aid of an infant last Friday night (17th March). Fortunately, according to SAS, the patient was eventually “transferred safely to hospital in Aberdeen by air.” An investigation is now underway.

Mr McArthur suggested that such an incident, which SAS has described as an “extremely unusual occurrence”, risks damaging public confidence and stressed the urgency of finding out what went wrong and ensuring it cannot happen again.

Commenting after writing to the Scottish Ambulance Service, Mr McArthur said:

“The importance of the air ambulance service to islanders cannot be overstated. All too often it can be the difference between life and death.

“Reports that a flight meant to pick up a patient in Orkney can end up in Shetland is therefore deeply concerning. Fortunately, on this occasion, no harm appears to have come to the young patient involved, but it is imperative that the investigation underway is concluded quickly and any additional safeguards necessary put in place.

“There must be no question of this sort of thing happening again. That is the assurance I have sought and hope to receive from the Chief Executive of SAS”.


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