FOI data shows reveal a shocking rise in ambulance response times for some of the most serious cases which require urgent attention by Paramedics, known as “red calls”. The data, obtained by the Scottish Tories, showed it took the Scottish Ambulance Service over two hours to respond to 40 “red calls” in 2021, up from 13 in 2018.
The data also reveals there has been a 538 percent increase in the number of “yellow calls” that have taken the Ambulance Service over 2 hours to respond to.
In 2018, 4,362 of these types of calls took over two hours, this increased to 27,829 in 2021.
The number of emergency callers who waited more than two hours for an ambulance to attend an incident also hiked to 29,300.
This is an increase of over 550 percent, from 4,451 in 2018.
Dr Sandesh Gulhane MSP, the Scottish Tories health spokesperson said on Sunday the escalating rise was “shocking and shameful.”
The GP said: “It makes a mockery of the SNP hiding behind Covid as an excuse for their years of failure.
“The pressures on our ambulance service were occurring long before the pandemic struck, but a succession of SNP Health Secretaries sat on their hands.”
The data is the latest revelation in Scotland’s spiralling NHS crisis, which has seen SNP-led Scottish Government ministers grappling with ambulance driver shortages and some of the highest waiting times on record.
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The Army was also called in to help two of Scotland’s struggling health boards on Friday.
Scotland’s Health Secretary Humza Yousaf requested the military’s assistance due to staff shortages at NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Borders, in a bid to cut escalating waiting times and improve patient care.
A total of 86 military personnel – nurses, Army medics, general troops, drivers and organisers – will be deployed from Tuesday for at least three weeks.
Both health boards recorded their worst-ever compliance with the A&E waiting times target in August, with 780 (28.8 percent) patients in the Borders and 5,992 (32.5 percent) in Lanarkshire having to wait longer than four hours to be seen.
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They were also the two worst-performing health boards in Scotland, according to the latest Public Health Scotland data.
It comes after Mr Yousaf urged Scots to “think twice” before calling 999 for an ambulance.
Dr Gulhane continued: “The SNP have underfunded our ambulance service for too long. Humza Yousaf should accept the SNP Government’s failings and outline real solutions to support patients and staff once and for all.”
In response, a Scottish Government spokesperson said the COVID-19 pandemic was the “biggest shock” the NHS had suffered in its 73-year existence.
They added: “The ambulance service is also carrying out a national review of demand and capacity which will help to ensure they are working as efficiently as possible and have resources in place to meet both current and projected future demand.”
The Scottish Government also pointed out that £20 million of additional funding was also allocated to boost the ambulance fleet and staff numbers.