THE ongoing challenges facing the ambulance service in Moray were on the agenda at a meeting today.
Moray’s MP Richard Lochhead was given an update by the service’s regional director, Milne Weir, on the steps being taken to increase resources and reduce the pressure on staff.
Speaking afterwards, Mr Lochhead said: “A new six month trial has been started where ambulances from Forres, Elgin and Buckie will not be diverted to certain categories of calls in Aberdeen when they’re carrying out transfers to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary
“This has been a big problem in the past, with Moray ambulances ending up stuck in Aberdeen for hours on end responding to calls in the city, leaving our local communities short of cover.
“We need the ambulance service to make this a permanent arrangement and I’ll be asking for regular updates on the trial, as well as pressing for a long-term decision as soon as possible.
“It’s clear from speaking to local crews that getting caught up in Aberdeen is one of the biggest challenges they face.
“We need the Scottish Ambulance Service to put a system in place that ensures crews can return from ARI as quickly as possible so that Moray communities have the cover they need.
“Over the last few years Moray’s ambulance crews have been under significant pressure due to an increase in demand for services and more hospital transfers being carried out between Dr Gray’s and ARI.
“There’s good news in that three new members of staff are now in place in Dufftown which means round the clock cover has now been reinstated, and on-call working has come to an end, which will help deliver the best possible care for patients in Speyside.
“Elsewhere in Moray there are an additional eight crew members now in post, which is a welcome step forward and is hopefully alleviating some of the pressure from crews who have been overstretched.