Ambulance times slammed by Central Scotland List MSP who says it's part of a longstanding funding problem

Scottish Conservative and Unionist MSP for Central Scotland, Graham Simpson, has raised concerns about the amount of time people are waiting for an ambulance in Lanarkshire.

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Graham Simpson
Graham Simpson

A Freedom of Information request reveals that 6,433 emergency callers waited more than 120 minutes for an ambulance in 2021-22, compared with around 3,844 in the previous year, 2,205 in 2019-20 and just 669 four years ago

This represents more an 860% increase in four years.

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There was also a massive rise in the number of serious ‘red’ and ‘purple’ incidents – which include heart attacks and strokes – where patients waited over ten minutes for a response since 2018. The target time is eight minutes.

In total, 7,009 critically ill ‘red’ and ‘purple’ patients waited over ten minutes to be seen in 2021-22, 45% of all call outs in the category. Across the country, the total number of people waiting over two hours for an ambulance has risen by 800% in four years.

Mr Simpson said : “Slow turnaround times and record waits at A&E have left 6,433 residents in Lanarkshire – some of whom will have been critically ill – waiting more than two hours for emergency help to arrive. This shameful state of affairs is symptomatic of the interconnected crises that have plagued our NHS for years under successive SNP Health Secretaries. It can’t be allowed to continue.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Patient safety remains our number one priority. The pandemic has been the biggest challenge the NHS has faced in its 73-year existence.

“These figures demonstrate that while there are approximately the same number of incidents being responded to in 2021/22 compared to 2018/19, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of the most serious incidents. In fact, in 4 years the number of Purple incidents responded to in under 10 minutes was up by over 70%, and the number responded to in under 30 minutes doubled.

“Our increased investment has seen record recruitment of 540 additional ambulance staff in 2021/22 with further recruitment of 574 staff planned for this year, ensuring the Service is working as efficiently as possible. Staff cover levels have shown a sustained improvement over the last few weeks.”