People in Dumbarton, Vale of Leven, Helensburgh and Lomond are having to wait longer for an ambulance to arrive in an emergency according to new figures obtained by local MSP Jackie Baillie.
New figures published under Freedom of Information show that one in five local people who call 999 in a life-threatening emergency wait longer than the 8-minute target response time for an ambulance to arrive.
The Scottish Ambulance Service is required to respond to Category A calls for life-threatening conditions like heart attacks and strokes within 8 minutes but the figures show that it failed to meet the target 249 times across Dumbarton, Vale of Leven, Helensburgh and Lomond in the six months between April and October 2015.
The statistics reveal an increase in response times for the most serious emergencies with 19% of Category A calls not meeting the 8-minute target in 2015/16 compared to 14% in 2014/15.
People living in Arrochar, Tarbet and Succoth have the longest wait in an emergency with nearly 60% of Category A calls not responded to within 8 minutes.
“This shows that local people are having to wait longer in life-threatening emergencies because our overstretched ambulance staff are not getting the resources they need from the SNP Government in Edinburgh. These figures do not even include the winter months when our NHS is under even more pressure so the reality could be even worse.
“Local health campaigners warned the SNP Health Secretary at a meeting at the Vale of Leven Hospital last summer that our local ambulance services are under strain. Not a lot has happened since then. Ambulances are still leaving our area to take patients to A&E in Paisley and not returning for hours because they get diverted to emergency calls south of the river.
“The figures for Arrochar, Tarbet and Succoth are particularly worrying. There are of course particular challenges in rural areas but the SNP Government was able to extend the 8-minute target to include Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles in 2013. If people living in remote islands can expect an ambulance to arrive within 8 minutes then so should our semi-rural communities in Lomond North