MSP seeks ambulance answers

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AMBULANCE services coming under fire from the Carrick community has spurred on a local MSP to get answers.

Adam Ingram, MSP for Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley, jumped on board the issue following claims from Girvan and South Carrick councillor Alec Clark and Girvan resident Billy Walker that the service operation was “below standard” and “senseless”.

Having spoken to the Ambulance Service, Mr Ingram said, “I am aware that there is currently a vacancy at Girvan Ambulance Station, which has meant that there have been occasions where a single-manned vehicle has responded to an emergency call.

“However, I was also advised that they have a student ambulance technician currently undertaking training with an expected completion date of November 9 and, thereafter, the station should once again be fully resourced.”

Mr Ingram had also raised the issue of rural crews responding to urban call-outs, and was informed that when emergency calls are received it is simply the nearest crew that is dispatched.

Councillor Clark was not entirely satisfied with this result however. “All of a sudden it comes to light that there is a practice being carried out that has always before been denied,” he said. “It seems single-manned paramedic crews regularly attend life threatening cases in order to stabilise patients until another ambulance is called.”

He said the current operational procedure “could potentially cost lives”.

Mr Walker, 75, of 1 Montgomerie Place, said he was not convinced that the issue would be resolved.

“I don’t think we will hear anymore about it,” he said. “I keep thing, ‘What can Mr Ingram can do about this? It is a government cut back’. When it comes to things like this you can’t move them with dynamite.”

Mr Ingram last week submitted a parliamentary question asking for details of the incidence of single-crewed ambulance deployment in the Carrick area in each of the last three years,

Health Secretary Alex Neil responded that the total incidence of single crewing for April to June 2012 in the South-West Division - which includes NHS Ayrshire and Arran - was 0.7 per cent compared to one per cent in Scotland as a whole.

“We are committed to ensuring that single crewing does not become a recurring theme and so that Mr Ingram’s constituents, and indeed people across the country, can have confidence that the Scottish Ambulance Service will provide a high quality and effective response when they are needed,” he said.