Deputy First Minister apologises after Fife ambulance waited over 7 HOURS at hospital

Deputy First Minister Shona Robison has apologised to patients left waiting “too long” for emergency care as it was revealed an ambulance in Fife spent over 7 hours waiting outside a hospital.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross challenged Dundee MSP Ms Robison over the “crisis” as he shared the figures uncovered by his party.

The data, released under Freedom of Information legislation, showed that in October 2023 the longest ambulance turnaround time in Fife was seven hours and 11 minutes.

The shortest amount of time an ambulance took to turn around at a Fife A&E was 64 minutes.

It comes after we revealed how one stressed paramedic in the Kingdom said staff were at breaking point.

The lengthy waits are leading to delays in response times as emergency crews are unavailable due to being tied up outside of hospital.

Mr Ross also revealed how patients in the most urgent category are waiting up to 10 times the six-minute target time for an ambulance to get to them.

Ambulances outside the Victoria Hospital in Fife. Image: Kenny Smith/DC Thomson.

Mr Ross said about half of patients in this purple category had suffered a cardiac arrest, as he asked Ms Robison: “Why should anyone whose heart has stopped be waiting so long for an ambulance to arrive?”

Ms Robison – who was standing in for Humza Yousaf as he is unwell – said the latest Scottish Ambulance Service figures show the median response time for the most serious category is seven minutes and 32 seconds.

She said: “I accept that is too long, and I accept there will be people waiting outside of those times.”

The deputy first minister conceded ambulances are “taking longer than they should to turn around at the front door of our hospitals”.

‘I apologise to anyone who has had to wait too long at A&E’

“Patient safety remains our top priority and I would apologise to anyone who has either experienced any waits for an ambulance to reach them or indeed has had to wait too long at A&E.”

She highlighted that an additional £50 million had been provided to the Scottish Ambulance Service as part of planning to help the NHS prepare for winter.

“Scottish Ambulance Service staffing is up 50% under this Government and we have record levels of investment in our health service, including in our Scottish Ambulance Service.”

However she said “the investment that has been made in our Scottish Ambulance Service and in our health service is absolutely not down to any of the resources that are being given to us by the UK Government”.

She told MSPs: “I have it in black and white that next year all the money that is coming from the UK Government for health amounts to £10.8 million. That is enough for five hours capacity in the NHS.”

She claimed that as a result, it is a “bit rich for Douglas Ross to come to this chamber talking about the performance of our Scottish Ambulance Service or indeed our health service more generally” when the Conservative UK Government has “singularly failed to provide the funding for our health service”.


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