FMQs: Sturgeon denies NHS crisis despite six hour ambulance waits

Nicola Sturgeon has denied Scotland’s ambulance service is in crisis despite average waits of six hours following a 999 call.

Scottish Conservative Leader Douglas Ross asked the First Minister if she accepted there was a crisis and what action the SNP Government will take immediately to fix it.

The Unite union said that ambulances have been parked outside hospitals for seven hours at peak moments, during which time they could miss three other emergency calls.

At First Minister’s Questions, Douglas Ross raised the case of Jim from Pitlochry, who had to take his 17-year-old son to hospital himself when he collapsed, fell unconscious and his lips turned blue.

Jim, who wishes his surname to remain anonymous for his son’s sake, waited for nearly 30 minutes with no ambulance in sight before driving to hospital himself, where he still struggled to get medical attention for his 17-year-old son.

He contacted the Scottish Conservatives with concerns of what could happen if this occurred again, particularly if his son had taken a turn for the worse or if this situation had happened to a more vulnerable person.

Douglas Ross also raised the case of someone who had waited 14 hours for an ambulance in Bearsden despite having symptoms of a stroke.

  

Scottish Conservative Leader Douglas Ross said: “It is shocking and unacceptable that the average wait time for an ambulance following a 999 call is currently six hours.

“The SNP has let this situation reach breaking point. Nobody who has waited too long for an ambulance will be reassured to hear Nicola Sturgeon downplay the lack of government action.

“The First Minister basically said ‘crisis, what crisis?’ in response to six-hour average waits for an ambulance.

“Knock-on issues are bringing Scotland’s NHS to its knees and putting lives at risk. It’s not only ambulance wait times – we are seeing record A&E waiting times and lengthy delays to in-person GP appointments.

“The target response time for life-threatening cases is supposed to be seven minutes but that’s not happening.

“Yet this week’s Programme for Government set out nothing – no new money – for the Scottish Ambulance Service.

“This crisis demands action now. Nicola Sturgeon can’t blame Covid for problems that have existed for years, which will only spiral further as we move towards winter.”

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