Local MSP Jackie Baillie has uncovered new figures which show that the single-staffing of local ambulances is still widespread despite Nicola Sturgeon’s promise to ‘eliminate’ the practice eight years ago.
Jackie Baillie used Freedom of Information laws to reveal the true scale of the problem after hearing the concerns of local medical professionals and patients.
The figures show that since 2013 more than 230 ambulances dispatched from the Arrochar, Vale of Leven and Helensburgh stations were staffed by only one person and the problem is getting worse.
The figures for 2015-16 have only been released for the first half the year but already the total number of single-crewed responses is higher than the figures for the whole year in 2014-15. There were 79 incidents when a local ambulance was dispatched with only one crew member in the first six months of 2015-16 compared to 76 for the whole of 2014-15.
“Sending ambulances out from the stations in Alexandria, Helensburgh and Arrochar with only one crew member increases the pressure on our dedicated local staff and puts patients’ lives at risk. How can it be possible for one member of staff to provide life-saving care to patients and drive an ambulance across the Erskine Bridge at the same time?
“Nicola Sturgeon made a very clear promise that single-crewed ambulances would be a thing of the past by 2009. It’s now 8 years on since she made that commitment and these figures show that the problem is actually getting worse here in Dumbarton, Vale of Leven, Helensburgh and Lomond.
“The SNP Health Secretary was made aware of staffing problems with our local ambulance services last summer when she met with a group of health campaigners at the Vale of Leven Hospital. It’s time for the SNP to finally get a grip of the situation and ensure that our hard-working local staff get the resources they need