New documents obtained by Scottish Liberal Democrats using Freedom of Information legislation reveal the Scottish Ambulance Service’s worrying projections of waiting times without further investment.
Internal Scottish Ambulance Service analysis estimates that if the status quo is maintained, by 2022 response times will “worsen across the country”. By next year, only 59% of “immediately life threatening patients would be responded to within 8 minutes against the target of 75%”.
These projections arrive after the First Minister was forced to request military support after widespread concerns were raised about increasing waits for ambulances and a series of record breaking waiting times in A&E departments.
The documents also say that if current conditions are maintained, more shifts will overrun, rest breaks will be “detrimentally” impacted and staff wellbeing will worsen, “including sickness and absence”.
Commenting, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:
“These projections from the ambulance service should result in an immediate and transformational injection of resource and capacity. And yet in the last week, the Health Secretary has attempted to pin the blame anywhere else.
“The stories of excruciating and sometimes fatal waits should haunt every member of this Scottish Government. They are a symptom of an overrun and understaffed ambulance service, ignored for too long by a government putting priorities elsewhere.
“They are not the result of a pandemic, and are certainly not the fault of members of the public who call for emergency care in desperation and with nowhere else to turn. This is a problem of the government’s own making, and it is theirs to fix.
“Time is up on their excuses.”