Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.
Post Thumbnail

Claims new ambulance has sat unused for three months… Because staff haven’t been trained to use it

Hard-pressed crews say a brand new ambulance has sat unused for three months – because they have still not been trained to drive it.

Fed-up staff say they have been forced to leave it “abandoned” in a car park even as the north-east faces a crisis in emergency coverage.

The “well-worn” vehicles now in service from Elgin have 222,000 and 170,000 miles on the clock. The Forres vehicle has done 236,000 miles and is also in need of replacement.

But unlike the existing ambulances, the new arrival has automatic transmission and none of the crews can yet take it out on the road.

Instead the replacement, which is still not kitted out with vital life-saving equipment, “has been abandoned at the back of Dr Gray’s in the dentists’ car park”, one paramedic said.

“Nobody has been trained to drive automatic, and we have been given no idea as to when that training might take place,” he revealed.

“It’s such a farcical situation that it’s almost funny, but things like this cause real frustration.”

The incident emerged as staff and unions expressed fears that a severe lack of emergency vehicles is putting lives at risk across the north-east.

Critics say new figures show paramedic crews are stretched to breaking point by having to perform hundreds of “non-emergency” hospital transfers every year.

The threadbare state of the region’s service often means vast areas have no ambulances to respond to people in distress, they warn, likening the situation to a “black hole” spreading across the north-east.

Moray’s biggest town, Elgin, is served by only one vehicle for 16 hours of each day.

But it is forced to transfer more than 700 patients between Dr Gray’s Hospital and Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI) every year – 75% of whom require no treatment en route.

Elgin crews spent a cumulative total of six months of 2015/16 ferrying patients down the A96, with each journey requiring at least four hours.

After dropping people off, the ambulance is commonly used to respond to emergency calls from Aberdeen’s surrounding towns and villages – leaving Elgin unmanned.

Paramedics say this causes a “domino effect” where vehicles from places such as Banff and Huntly are called to treat casualties in Moray, creating risks in their own unattended patches.

And north-east crews say the problem is compounded by increasingly being summoned to casualties sometimes 60 miles outside of their area, before then transporting casualties to ARI.

Last July, a Banff crew responded to a 999 call about a patient with chest pains in Lossiemouth – and took 47 minutes to arrive.

In December 2015, 21-year-old Bryan Addison died after being hit by a car while walking along the A941 Elgin to Lossiemouth road.

The ambulances sent to the scene had to travel from Dufftown and Buckie as local crews were busy.

And last March, a Tomintoul ambulance took 27 minutes to arrive when 16-year-old cyclist Keiran McKandie was killed in a collision with a car on the B9010 road outside Elgin.

One paramedic likened busy periods where numerous ambulances are in use to an ever-expanding “black hole”, capable of swallowing up entire chunks of the north-east.

Elgin is served by one ambulance for 24 hours, and a second is deployed only between 2pm and 10pm.

The number of patient transfers the town’s stretched crews are ordered to perform has doubled over the last five years, as beds and services have been reduced at Dr Gray’s.

Although the majority of transfers are to Aberdeen, paramedics are also tasked with driving patients to Inverness, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Milne Weir, the general manager of the SAS north division, said there had already been “significant improvements in the Grampian area in response to recent feedback”.

“We are continuing to monitor demand and review performance to ensure patients get the quickest and most appropriate resource.”

The response included recruiting 30 new paramedics, a hospital ambulance liaison officer (Halo) at Dr Gray’s to reduce turnaround times, major trauma kit for ambulances and a “lower acuity” vehicle in Elgin and Banff to ease the load.

“The Grampian area will also benefit from a number of new accident and emergency vehicles as part of the national fleet replacement programme,” he added.