Leader comment: Patients need ambulances

Ambulance services in Scotland are being cut. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Ambulance services in Scotland are being cut. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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Getting an ambulance from home to hospital for treatment is a vital service for a good number of patients, especially the elderly and vulnerable.

But now we learn that around 44 trips are cancelled weekly across Scotland, leading to missed appointments and inconvenience.

This can only be seen as evidence of a health service showing further signs of severe strain.

The Scottish Ambulance Service cite high demand, staff shortages and specialist equipment being unavailable for certain journeys.

However, ambulance chiefs also say more patients need driven to other health boards, which ties up much-needed staff and vehicles.

Each delay and cancellation has a knock-on effect, leading to inefficiencies elsewhere in the National Health Service.

With patients going to over-stretched accident and emergency departments to their condition worsening and needing more complex treatment, no one expects to be treated this way.

If we don’t act now, things are likely to get worse.