Patients in Helensburgh and Lomond are being forced to find their own transport to hospital in emergency situations to avoid long waits for ambulances, according to information shared with local MSP Jackie Baillie.
A Helensburgh GP practice has spoken out about the mounting pressure on local ambulance services as staff shortages result in waits of up to 50 minutes for paramedics to arrive.
Staff at the practice, who asked not to be named to avoid identifying the patient involved, told the MSP that a patient had to make their own way to A&E on Tuesday last week following a 30-minute wait for an ambulance. The emergency services, which had been called by a GP after assessing the patient, said that there were no available ambulance crews in the Helensburgh area.
Last month it was reported that there have been at least six recent cases in Helenbsurgh of ambulances taking between 40 and 50 minutes to respond to patients suffering from suspected heart attacks and strokes. Local paramedics have also been inundated with requests to cover unmanned shifts.
Jackie Baillie said local ambulance services are heading towards a serious crisis and called on the SNP Government to step in to ease pressure on services.
“The fact that no ambulances were available in Helensburgh on a weekday evening will come as a shock to everyone who lives in the area. Nobody should be forced to find their own way to A&E in an emergency.
“But this isn’t an isolated incident. We told the SNP Health Secretary weeks ago that paramedics are struggling to cope and gave a list of examples where local patients with life-threatening conditions have been left waiting too long for an ambulance. Our local ambulance staff are over-worked and they are not getting the resources they need from the SNP Government.
“In the short term we urgently need extra staff and more resources to ease the pressure on our emergency services. However the best way to solve this crisis in the long term would be a dedicated north of the river A&E service so our local paramedics can spend less time driving across the Erskine Bridge and more time saving lives