Emergency Ambulances (Dumfries and Galloway)

Question Time — Scottish Executive – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:30 pm on 6th March 2003.

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Photo of Alasdair Morgan Alasdair Morgan Scottish National Party 2:30 pm, 6th March 2003

To ask the Scottish Executive whether the provision of emergency ambulances in Dumfries and Galloway is adequate. (S1O-6570)

Photo of Frank McAveety Frank McAveety Labour

From 1999-2000 to date, the Scottish Ambulance Service has seen an increase of more than 40 per cent in emergency demand in the Dumfries and Galloway area. Despite that increase, the service in that area is achieving a response time that is higher than its targets. The Scottish Ambulance Service will continue to monitor and review ambulance provision, not just in Dumfries and Galloway but throughout Scotland to ensure that demand and response time standards are met.

Photo of Alasdair Morgan Alasdair Morgan Scottish National Party

The figures that the minister has given hide the fact that, within certain stations in Dumfries and Galloway, the number of emergency calls has increased by well over 100 per cent in the past couple of years. Given that fact and the increased pressure from inter-hospital transfers—such as from Stranraer to Dumfries or from Dumfries to Edinburgh and Glasgow—will the minister at least undertake to investigate whether the local service has sufficient resources to meet demand? Increasing concerns are certainly being passed on to me by constituents.

Photo of Frank McAveety Frank McAveety Labour

I would be happy to explore the concerns that the member has raised. However, we have already invested in the Dumfries and Galloway area to change accident and emergency provision to full-time working at the Stranraer unit, which is meeting some of the increased demand. We are also providing two accident and emergency vehicles 24 hours a day. We have tried to address many of the concerns by increasing overall resources by almost 10 per cent in the period that I mentioned. As we have said, we are happy to look at the situation throughout Scotland and to monitor accident and emergency services to ensure that we are delivering the highest-quality service in accident and emergency and non-emergency work.