SNP under fire after 10k ambulances dispatched with one crew member

Thousands of ambulances in Scotland have been dispatched with just a single crew member, Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
Thousands of ambulances in Scotland have been dispatched with just a single crew member, Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
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More than 10,000 ambulances have been dispatched with just one crew member on board in the past four years, despite Scottish Government policy limiting the practice to “exceptional circumstances”.

Paramedics were sent on their own to 2,204 emergency call-outs in 2016/17 – an average of six a day – according to figures obtained by the Scottish Conservatives.

The party said the level of single-crewed ambulance use is “unacceptable”, given ministers warned against it a decade ago.

Then health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said at the time: “I have made it clear to the Scottish Ambulance Service that it must take action to eliminate rostered single-manning.”

There have been a total of 10,029 single-crewed ambulances dispatched since 2013/14 and Tory public health spokeswoman Annie Wells branded it “unacceptable”.

She said: “The SNP government has to take responsibility for this.”

Health Secretary Shona Robison insisted “single crewing” remained low in Scotland.

The Scottish Ambulance Service said the figures “need to be seen” in the context of 670,000 shifts in this period, meaning only 1.5 per cent were single-crewed.