Scottish ambulance service prepares for festive surge

During this time last year, the Scottish Ambulance Service dealt with an extra 165 incidents per day. Photo: John Devlin.

During this time last year, the Scottish Ambulance Service dealt with an extra 165 incidents per day. Photo: John Devlin.

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The preparations come in light of last year’s pressure on the Scottish Ambulance Service, which saw an extra 165 incidents per day dealt with by medical staff across Scotland.

Between 12 December 2014 and 1 January 2015, the Scottish Ambulance Service dealt with over 35,600 emergency incidents in total, with this year predicted to give a rise in demand of up to 20 per cent during the Christmas and Hogmanay party period.

Chief Executive of the Scottish Ambulance Service Pauline Howie said: “Every year we develop detailed operational plans to meet the extra demand, as well as the potential for challenging weather conditions.

“As they enjoy festive parties, we would ask people to drink sensibly and wrap up well for the weather. They should also make travel plans in advance and ensure that they have sufficient supplies of medicines to cover the festive holidays.”

This year has also seen investment of approximately £900,000 in additional vehicles and staff, with the aim of freeing up more ambulances to respond to 999 calls.

New staff will fill the roles of Hospital Ambulance Liaison Officers, tasked with improving turnaround times for ambulances and patients alike.

Rises of up to 20 per cent in the number of emergency calls during Christmas and Hogmanay are expected by the Scottish Ambulance Service. Photo: Toby Williams

Rises of up to 20 per cent in the number of emergency calls during Christmas and Hogmanay are expected by the Scottish Ambulance Service. Photo: Toby Williams

The winter-ready fleet uses winter tyres on 4x4s and ambulances, with Special Operations Response Teams on hand to provide additional support with specialist equipment and all-terrain vehicles.

At present, the Scottish Ambulance Service can respond to the most serious life-threatening injuries in an average of 6.6 minutes.

Howie added: “By taking these simple precautions the public can help us to focus our ambulances on responding to those people who are in most need of our help.”

Every year we develop detailed operational plans to meet the extra demand

Pauline Howie, Chief Executive of the Scottish Ambulance Service

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