Rural Fifers waiting longer for urgent aid

Residents in north east Fife are waiting longer than the average Scot after calling for an ambulance.

Friday, 22nd March 2019, 3:31 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd March 2019, 3:33 pm
The Scottish Ambulance Service said it is hiring more paramedics.

Figures obtained by the BBC showed residents in KY15 had an average wait time of seven mins 55 secs; KY16, eight mins 54secs; and KY10, 12 mins 17secs.

The Scottish average is just six minutes 57 seconds.

The figures show how long, on average, it takes for someone to receive help for highest priority cases, such as major blood loss or cardiac arrest.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The figures for north east Fife also reflected the wider results, with residents in rural areas often having to wait longer for urgent call outs. The Scottish Ambulance Service said it was recruiting 1000 more paramedics up to 2021.

A spokesperson said: “Our new triage system prioritises patients whose lives are at risk and we ensure we get the quickest response to these patients.

“For less ill patients, we get the best response to them based on their condition, not necessarily the nearest or quickest, and this approach has led to a 43 per cent increase in the survival rate for our sickest patients.

“Our hard working crews care for patients in some of the most remote parts of the UK, but even then, they reach 75 per cent of patients in under 10 minutes and 96 per cent within 20 minutes across the whole of Scotland.

“In remote areas, we have a range of resources we can deploy depending on the nature of the incident from ambulance and paramedic response units, to rapid deployment of our network of Community First Responders like our valued East Neuk teams, to air support or other emergency services if they are nearby.”

MSP Willie Rennie praised the work of the East Neuk First Responders, who work with the Scottish Ambulance Service to respond to life-threatening emergencies, providing care until an ambulance arrives. He described them as a “vital link in the chain of survival”.

“Our health service is fantastic and save lives in Fife and Scotland everyday, but we do need to be transparent about the care we can provide,” Mr Rennie added. “I want to make sure the council and health board take all of Fife’s needs into account, both rural and urban when they are allocating resources.”