MSP calls for new Elgin ambulance as “next step” in revamp

Moray MSP Richard Lochhead

Investment in a new ambulance for Elgin must be the “next step” in easing pressures on emergency services personnel in Moray, according to the region’s MSP.

Richard Lochhead welcomed the Scottish Ambulance Service’s (SAS) announcement this week that three new posts would be created in Dufftown to finally provide cover 24-hours-a-day in the community.

But the SNP politician said there was “more to do” as he urged ambulance bosses to turn their attention to the provision of ambulances in Elgin.

Moray community wins long battle for 24-hour ambulance cover

Mr Lochhead has been working with staff on the issue since 2016 and organised a meeting in November between local crews and Health Secretary Shona Robison.

Last night, he said: “Moray’s ambulance crews have been under real pressure in recent years, with an increase in demand for services and more hospital transfers needing to be carried out.

“I’ve been working side by side with local staff, campaigning for the Scottish Ambulance Service to deliver additional resources locally, so the investment announced to end on call working at Dufftown Station is a real boost for the workforce.

“At the meeting I arranged between local ambulance staff and the health secretary in Elgin at the end of last year, the staff made a powerful case for additional resources and they clearly made a real impact, with this announcement coming so soon after their talks.”

Mr Lochhead added: “24 hour working at Dufftown is hugely welcome, but there’s more to do to ensure that Moray has all the resources it needs to deliver the best possible care for patients.

“The next step must be for the Scottish Ambulance Service to invest in a permanent, additional ambulance, with the necessary staff, to alleviate some of the pressure on our local crews, and I will continue to work alongside the staff in Moray to push for that to happen.”

An SAS spokeswoman said: “We will continue to work with our staff and NHS Grampian to develop our services in the region, both in the long and short term as we put additional staff in place.

“The funding announced is an important step forward and an essential part of wider reform work we are undertaking to implement new ways of working to improve patient care and help our staff.

“Our aim is to get the right response out to the patient first time, whether that be a paramedic or ambulance and these three additional posts will help us continue to deliver outstanding care for our patients.”