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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-06255: Liam Kerr (North East Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 18 January 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to figures published by The Courier on 13 January 2017, which suggest that Tayside and Fife ambulance response times are the worst in the country.

Answered by: Shona Robison 27 January 2017

The average response time for call-outs in both Fife and Tayside in 2015-16 was around 7 minutes, against a national average of around 7.5 minutes.

Response times are monitored on an on-going basis and are affected throughout the year by a number of factors, including peaks in demand, extreme weather, and road closures as well as turnaround times at hospitals. In a potentially life threatening emergency, the ambulance service will dispatch the nearest available resource as soon as possible.

It should be noted that, while time targets are important, they are not a sign of the quality of patient outcomes.

That is why the Scottish Ambulance Service are piloting a new response model, announced in November last year. The model has been developed following the most extensive clinical review of its type ever undertaken in the UK - with nearly half a million call-outs examined. This will benefit patients in urban, rural and remote communities in Scotland.

The Scottish Government and Scottish Ambulance Service are both committed to ensuring patients across Scotland received the best care possible. That is why we have invested an extra £11.4 million in the Scottish Ambulance Service for 2016-17 which will include the recruitment of 200 extra paramedics as part of our commitment to training 1000 more paramedics over the next five years. The funding will help to improve care across Scotland.