Fife paramedics huge increase in call-outs as figures claim ambulance waiting times up

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Waiting times for ambulances in the most serious cases have gone up in Fife, according to research released by the Lib Dems – but the data also shows a huge rise in the number of calls to the service.

The party submitted Scotland-wide Freedom of Information requests to all health boards to determine the pressures on the frontline service, and it said waiting times for purple and red calls - covering the the most serious cases - went up in the Kingdom, along with Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

But the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) criticised the way the data was framed, saying it was “not accurate or a fair reflection of our hard-working teams.”The service added: “The figures quoted in this FOI relate to where patients present with a less urgent condition and subsequently their condition changes and our response increases accordingly.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The figures prompted Alex Cole-Hamilton, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, to call on the Scottish Government to recognise the pressures on ambulance staff who he said it had “continuously ignored”

Ambulance services are under pressure across Scotland (Pic: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)Ambulance services are under pressure across Scotland (Pic: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Ambulance services are under pressure across Scotland (Pic: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

He said: “If you call an ambulance at a moment of crisis, you want to know that someone will be there in time to help you as best they can. Tragically, this is simply not happening for so many people across Scotland. It is extremely worrying that high risk callers in particular have had to wait more than an hour for help.”

Mr Cole-Hamilton added: “We wil continue to call for an inquiry into the hundreds of avoidable deaths linked to the emergency care crisis, something which has been obstructed by nationalist MSPs who did not want to know.

“The Health Secretary needs to recognise the pressures that the service is under and look again at what needs to be done to improve life for both patients and staff. Swift action could make all the difference between life and death.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The data for the two most serious categories also reveal the huge increase in demands for ambulances. In 2019, Fife dealt with 876 incidents with an average response time of 7.27 minutes.By last year that number doubled to 1682 with a response time of 8.53 minutes. Red category calls went up from 4701 in 2019 - with a 9.24 minute response time - to 7051 and a response time of 10.43.

A spokesperson for the ambulance service said: “It is unfortunate that the statistics are being presented in this manner, it is not accurate or a fair reflection of our hard-working teams. The figures quoted in this FOI relate to where patients present with a less urgent condition and subsequently their condition changes and our response increases accordingly. This is underpinned by regular communication and assessment of the patient's condition by SAS, on these occasions only the total call time is shown.

“Our latest published statistics show our median response time for our most serious calls in Scotland is currently 6 minutes and 42 seconds. We have recruited more than 26 additional staff to the Fife region over the past year. We also continue to work with hospitals who continue to have extended turnaround times."

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.