Published: 19/04/2017 10:13 - Updated: 19/04/2017 11:48

Lochhead meeting over Moray ambulance service problems



MORAY’S MSP is meeting with the Chief Executive of the Scottish Ambulance Service amid concerns about the service locally.

Richard Lochhead says he has been pressing Pauline Howie for additional resources to be made available in Moray for many months now.

The SAS responded by funding a Hospital Ambulance Liaison Officer based at Dr Gray’s to manage the patient transfers to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.

There are concerns however that the action taken by the SAS have not delivered adequate improvements in response times.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Mr Lochhead said: "There is no doubt that our hard-working local ambulance personnel are often over-stretched and this can also have implications for the public.

"Over the past 12 months I have met the Scottish Ambulance Service several times and also Scottish Ministers to discuss what should be done to ensure we have adequate resources available in Moray, both in terms of staff and ambulances numbers and how they should be deployed.

"I have been given assurances that extra resources are now being deployed, and I want to see evidence they are making a positive difference.

"But even if they are there is still much more to be done.

"I am aware that steps taken to date have done little to radically improve local ambulance provision.

"I will be urging the chief executive to listen to the feedback of staff on the front line and to provide the extra resources they need to provide the best service possible for people in Moray."

Last month ambulance crews in Moray and the Highlands voted overwhelmingly to start an official dispute.

Some 95 per cent of members balloted said they had no confidence in the North Divisional management of the service.

Speaking at the time, the Unite union’s regional Tommy Campbell described the vote as a "shout from the rooftops" and warned that a strike was the inevitable next step unless concerns were dealt with.

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