New figures uncovered by Scottish Liberal Democrat Health spokesman Jim Hume MSP have revealed that in the last year, ambulances have taken more than 20 minutes to respond to life-threatening incidents on nearly 2,700 occasions.
In Glasgow and Peterhead, ambulance response to life-threatening ‘category A’ emergency calls took more than 20 minutes on almost 50 occasions in 2013-14. Edinburgh, Hawick, Banff and Dundee all saw 30 or more victims of ‘category A’ incidents waiting more than 20 minutes for help.
The Scottish Government response time target for a ‘category A’ incident is 8 minutes.
Mr Hume has called for an urgent investigation into these delays. Speaking today, he warned that Minister need to get a grip on these crucial services and provide Ambulance Service staff with the support they need to improve response times.
Commenting, Jim Hume MSP said:
“Our Ambulance Service does fantastic, life-saving work in communities around Scotland every day. But I think Ambulance Service staff would be amongst the first to recognise that these figures are hugely concerning.
“When lives are at stake we must do everything we can to reach those who need help as soon as possible. But on 2,700 occasions in the last year alone, it took 20 minutes or more to reach people experiencing a life-threatening incident.
“For people suffering from cardiac problems and other serious health conditions, every minute without treatment in an emergency can reduce the likelihood of survival. It is that simple.
“The 8 minute target for responses to serious incidents was introduced for good reason. Ministers now need to look closely at why this it is still being missed, and why so many patients have been forced to wait more than double this time to receive medical assistance.
“The Scottish Government needs to get a grip on these crucial services and give Ambulance Service staff the support they need to improve response times.”