Ambulance waiting times up drastically in Scotland

Between 2013/14 and 2017/18, the number of emergency calls which took more than 10 minutes to be responded to almost doubled to 305,000.

 

Figures obtained by Scottish Labour show that in 2014-15 there were 153,878 case where an ambulance took longer to arrive than 10 minutes, compared with 305,061 in 2017-18.

Meanwhile patients waiting over two hours for a response rose by 645%.

The figures come after Labour revealed last month that the number of single-crew ambulances being dispatched in Scotland rose by almost 50% during this same period.

The party blames the Scottish Government for failing to provide the Scottish Ambulance Service with enough funding to cope with demand.

Labour's Daniel Johnson said the figures showed that it was "clear that the SNP government is continually letting down the public".

"Our ambulance staff perform lifesaving work every day, but are under pressure like never before, and these are shocking figures which will concern many members of the public.

"It's well known that for a number of illnesses a swift response time can make all the difference.

"Not only are thousands of Scots having to wait more than two hours for an ambulance, we know that the number of ambulances being dispatched with a single crew has rocketed."

A spokesman for the Scottish Ambulance Service blamed the figures on the introduction of a new system for responding to calls.

“We have changed the way we respond to calls and are now deliberately prioritising the sickest, most seriously ill patients in Scotland,” he said.

“As a result, we have almost doubled survival rates for cardiac arrest patients since 2013.

“For less urgent cases, our call handlers now spend more time understanding patient’s clinical needs to ensure we send the right, not necessarily the nearest resource.

“The result has been slightly longer response times for patients whose lives are not immediately at risk – but consequently, last year we saved the lives of an additional 62 patients who had suffered an out of hospital cardiac arrest.”

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