Ayrshire ambulance anguish

AMBULANCE services in Ayrshire and Arran are “below standard” as a result of bureaucracy, according to one Carrick councillor.

Councillor Alec Clark, who represents Girvan and South Carrick, has raised serious concerns about the ability of ambulance crews to do their best for patients due to management issues beyond their control.

Mr Clark, who was elected to South Ayrshire Council in May with over 1600 of the nearly 3400 votes cast in the district, believes the single manning of ambulances hamper a crew’s efforts to help injured individuals.

He claims single paramedics are often forced to call another ambulance in order to treat their patient and drive them to hospital simultaneously.

“There is a time factor there that could be crucial to the patient,” he said.

“The professionalism of the paramedics doesn’t come into the question,” he added.

“They do a marvellous job. But the staff themselves are coming under pressure from the ambulance service and higher up.”

The issue has previously been raised at Girvan Community Council, and Mr Clark has voiced his own concerns to Carrick MSP Adam Ingram.

“It’s a very important issue in rural areas, especially in Girvan, where we don’t have access to 24 hour accident and emergency services,” he said.

In response to Mr Clark’s fears, a spokesman for the Scottish Ambulance Service said double crewed ambulances are not routinely single crewed, other than in exceptional circumstances, such as late notice of absence. 

He added that the average time to respond to a life threatening call in Scotland is currently at a record 6.6 minutes, and more new recruits are currently being trained than ever before.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said there is an ongoing Government commitment to ensure the number of occasions on which a single crewed ambulance is deployed is minimised, and that regular updates from the ambulance service are received to make sure this continues.