MSP claims figures show Forth Valley's 'ambulance crisis'

Central Scotland MSP Richard Leonard says new figures prove there is a growing crisis for the ambulance service in the Forth Valley area with some patients waiting as long as four hours to gain access to hospital.

Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 7:46 am

Mr Leonard believes the figures, obtained through a Freedom of Information request, expose a dangerously deteriorating ambulance situation at Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

The data shows ambulances waited for more than an hour to transfer sick patients to the hospital a shocking 362 times in the first half of 2021. They also show a long-term decline, with the median ambulance turnaround time increasing by 52 per cent since 2014.

Mr Leonard said: “These damning figures show just how badly Scotland’s growing ambulance crisis has hit people served by Forth Valley Royal Hospital. These problems have been building for years while SNP Ministers buried their heads in the sand – and now things have escalated into a national emergency.

The Scottish Ambulance Service says steps are being taken to reduce patient transfer delays

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“Pandemic or no pandemic, no-one should be stuck outside a hospital waiting four hours for urgent help. Our NHS staff, paramedics, technicians and call-handlers are working tirelessly to get people the care they need, but they are being failed too.

“The SNP need to get to grips with this crisis before any more lives are lost.”

Scottish Ambulance Service said moves were being made to minimise ambulance delays.

A spokesperson said: “The Scottish Ambulance Service and NHS Forth Valley collaborate on a daily basis and initiate joint escalation plans as appropriate to manage risks associated with ambulance turnaround delays at hospitals.

"A number of other steps are also being taken to minimise ambulance delays at hospitals including discharge planning to maintain patient flow and increasing alternative care pathways for ambulance clinicians to support patients in the community.”

An NHS Forth Valley spokesperson added: “Our staff work very closely with colleagues from the Scottish Ambulance Service to ensure any patients brought to hospital in an ambulance are transferred to the care of the local ED team as quickly as possible.

"The average transfer time is around 30 to 40 minutes and a number of actions have been taken forward over the last few months to help reduce any potential delays.”

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