‘Ambulance response times were delayed in London overnight after technical problems hit the control room, the ambulance service has said.’
On a night when the London Ambulance Service attracted the big headlines with a collapse in its computer system, the long-anticipated (hoped for?) crisis in the Scottish system seems not to have materialised. As with yesterday’s report on the NO crisis in Scottish hospitals, by contrast with those in England, over the festive period, predictions of failure earlier in the year have not come to pass. BBC Scotland’s website could only report tamely (see below) on an increase in demand for ambulances but offered no evidence of problems meeting it. They couldn’t, of course, praise them despite the mention of the apparently smooth and effective planning with extra staff on duty. BBC Breakfast’s broadcast this morning had no Scottish section.
Back on 31st January 2016, the Sunday Post had reported ‘Ambulance crisis: Crews late for 1 in 3 life and death cases with service in meltdown.’ In April of 2016 we also had from the GMB union:
‘GMB Scotland Warns STUC of ‘Chronic Underfunding’ Consequences Across The Scottish Ambulance Service The current state of the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) is putting lives at risk says GMB Scotland.’
As recently as 28th October, we had Alex Bell, in the Guardian, under a picture of an ambulance, telling us:
‘Audit Scotland has issued a strong warning about the state of the NHS in Scotland. It says the NHS is underfunded, has been unable to reform and faces unprecedented savings targets.’
You might remember Alex Bell as former ‘senior policy adviser’ to Alex Salmond but now serial critic of SNP policy.
I wonder, could this SNP initiative, reported in the Times newspaper in July 2016, have helped?
‘A thousand new paramedics are to be trained to work in the ambulance service over the next five years. The first 200 paramedics, recruited from the ambulance technician workforce, will begin training this year, backed by £5 million of Scottish government funding.’
Here’s the full BBC Scotland report:
Increase in Scottish New Year ambulance calls
The Scottish Ambulance Service had a busier Hogmanay than last year.
Ambulance staff dealt with 2,184 calls between 19:00 on Hogmanay and 07:00 on New Year’s Day.
Additional crews, call handlers and dispatchers were on duty. The busiest time was from 01:00 to 04:00, with 739 calls.
The New Year total was 35 higher than the previous year. The Christmas period, from 23 to 27 December, saw a 10% increase on 2015.
Scottish Ambulance Service chief executive Pauline Howie said: “The overall level of demand for our service over the festive period has exceeded previous years and Hogmanay was one of our busiest nights of the year.”