Ambulance Services (Aberdeen Royal Infirmary)

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 29 February 2024.

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Photo of Tess White Tess White Conservative

On Monday, up to half of the north-east’s ambulance fleet—18 ambulances—were stuck outside Aberdeen royal infirmary. A paramedic told

The Press and Journal that they are unable to help people who are most in need because they are repeatedly tied up. The situation is now so bad that earlier this month a shop worker in Dyce who was covered in blood after being attacked and left almost unconscious by robbers had to be driven to hospital by her employer because the ambulance service was too busy. What immediate action will the Scottish Government take to address the on-going crisis across the north-east?

Photo of Humza Yousaf Humza Yousaf Scottish National Party

Tess White is right to raise that issue. The level of ambulance stacking, the waits and the turnaround times at the ARI in particular are simply not acceptable. I am afraid that there is no reason that can justify that level of wait. I have been extremely concerned about the reports that we have heard from paramedics directly.

I am more than happy for the Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care to write to Tess White—I will ensure that he does so—with the full details of the conversations that we are having with NHS Grampian and the actions that it is taking. For example, it is looking at doing more to increase discharge planning in order to maintain patient flow and increase alternative care pathways for ambulance clinicians to support patients in the community, as opposed to coming to the ARI. NHS Grampian is also expanding the site’s acute capacity, having recently opened 32 new acute beds at Aberdeen royal infirmary. Increasing the capacity will help with in-patient flow through the ARI and, I hope, the issue of ambulance stacking.

However, it is a very serious issue indeed. I am not happy at all about the continued long turnaround times at the ARI in particular. I will ensure that the Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care writes to Tess White with full details of the actions that are being taken.