Paramedics “downhearted” at result of Moray ambulance talks

Paramedics have been left “downhearted” that ambulance bosses have ignored pleas to boost cover in Moray.

The area’s MSP, Richard Lochhead, this week met the chief executive of the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS), Pauline Howie, to discuss the “serious pressures” local crews are facing.

Mr Lochhead had been hopeful that he could persuade Ms Howie to provide the area with extra resources.

No such guarantee was given, and Mr Lochhead said he remains determined to press for improvements in Moray’s provision.

The SAS insists that “specialist paramedics” working in Elgin and a hospital ambulance liaison officer at the town’s Dr Gray’s Hospital lessened the burden on ambulance crews.

Ms Howie also highlighted new posts at stations in Buckie, Elgin and Tomintoul as “underpinning” the organisation’s commitment to keeping the region safe.

But one Moray paramedic, who asked to remain anonymous, last night dismissed the claims as “smoke and mirrors”.

They said: “This is the same old stuff, it’s nonsense.

“These so-called new posts are to cover parental leave, and to allow junior managers time off.

“Nothing has actually changed, the level of cover will be no different.

“We are pretty downhearted, it appears that Moray just isn’t a priority.”

The employee also said that the “specialist paramedics” referred to are unable to help in emergency situations.

“These are people in a car with a box of medication, who visit people so that they don’t need to attend at hospital”, they added.

The summit followed concerns that local paramedics are increasingly unable to respond to emergencies as they transfer patients between hospitals.

Yesterday, Ms Howie said the service was “working closely” with NHS Grampian to monitor demand and performance, as the organisations “establish new models of care”.

She added: “All of these additional measures underpin our commitment to providing the highest possible level of care to patients in the most appropriate setting across Moray.”

Mr Lochhead said: “I urged management to tackle the number of hospital transfers that crews carry out.

“They mean that ambulances are unavailable to answer calls for hours.

“I welcome a commitment to review the deployment and staffing of the special vehicle that is available to carry out such work.”