Cole-Hamilton calls for fresh funds for Scottish Ambulance Service

New figures published by Scottish Ambulance reveal that the average time ambulances spend waiting to offload patients at accident-and-emergency (A&E) departments in Scotland continued to increase in the past month, leading Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and health spokesperson to urgently call for more funds for the ambulance service.

The​ average turnaround time at hospital has increased from 23 minutes in 2014 to 37 minutes, 38 seconds this week. In the past month, the average waiting time oscillated between 38 and 39 minutes.

The data highlighted that the “super hospital” Queen Elizabeth Hospital had an alarming 52 minute median turn around. 

A similar shocking figure appeared in the Ayrshire & Arran health board in the first week of December where the median turnaround was 55 minutes. 

Mr Cole-Hamilton said:

“These new statistics paint a very grim picture of the situation and cannot be simply blamed on the pandemic.

“Over the years, as well as in the past month, we saw the average turnaround time increasing. In cases where mere seconds can make a difference, this is not acceptable.

“The Health Secretary should admit that he had previously underestimated the scale of the challenge and that the present NHS recovery plan is not up to scratch. 

“Staff are at their wits end coping not just with the pandemic but with the consequences of 14 years of SNP failure. 

“The government must ensure that if anyone is, unfortunately, in need of an ambulance because of a code red or purple, help will arrive fast, and the patient won’t have to wait too long before being admitted. Swift action might be the difference between life and death.”  

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