Health Secretary Jeane Freeman will examine claims that ambulance drivers in remote areas are undertaking six hour “on call” journeys after working a day shift.
Ms Freeman said she would discuss the issue with the ambulance service after it was raised by Labour Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant at Holyrood yesterday.
Ms Grant said: “Ambulance crews in remote rural areas work their day shift hours and then cover the rest of the 24-hour period on an on-call basis. That can mean that staff work their full day shift and are then called out in the middle of the night.
“In my region, those call-outs can involve a round trip of more than six hours on top of the day shift already worked. If those staff were employed as professional drivers, that would be illegal and indeed they could be charged with dangerous driving.”
Ms Grant said crews could register as “fatigued”, but doing so meant they often couldn’t return home.
Ms Freeman promised to speak to the SAS and added that the service recognised concerns with “on call fatigue”.
She said that over the last year on call working had been eliminated in Wick, Thurso and Dufftown and would end in Portree in the future.
She added: “All working patterns in NHS Scotland meet the limits of the working time regulations, including the average 48-hour working week and the required minimum daily and weekly rest periods.”