The campaign to resolve a pay dispute which has resulted in firefighters pulling out of a lifesaving pilot scheme has been raised at Holyrood.
Firefighters across Scotland have been taking part in a trial that has led to them going to help people in cardiac arrest if they can arrive before medics, which has saved 41 lives in its first year.
The pilot was supported by Moray couple Gordon and Sandra McKandie, whose son Kieran died cycling near Elgin. The ambulance responding to the call took 30 minutes to arrive, and his family has been desperate to give others the best chance of survival.
Yesterday, Moray MSP Richard Lochhead asked First Minister Nicola Sturgeon what progress had been made in the dispute and highlighted the McKandie’s campaigning work.
He said: “They have been calling for firefighters to attend medical emergencies as they can be closer than the nearest ambulance. They want to see a change in policy as part of Keiran’s legacy.
“Understandably, they are shocked that a pay dispute can get in the way of saving lives and they want to see the co-responding of emergency services to all road traffic accidents.
“Does the first minister agree that we need a solution that respects the views of the firefighters who want to continue to deliver this vital service without delay and for co-responding to become standard throughout Scotland, to save even more lives?”
Ms Sturgeon said the McKandie’s campaigning was “greatly to be admired” and she supported an urgent resolution to the dispute.
She said: “I am aware of the campaign by Mr and Mrs McKandie, who are greatly to be admired for their efforts, following the tragic loss of their son, to promote improvements in the way in which services respond to emergency incidents.
“I agree whole-heartedly that the medical emergency trials are an excellent example of public services working more closely together to achieve a common aim and to improve the service that is provided to the public.
“We want to see our fire service workers paid appropriately. I am aware that the chief fire officer has written a letter to the fire and rescue service staff asking for discussions to continue on a proposal that is in the best interests of firefighters and communities. I encourage all sides to do all that they can to resolve the issue without further delay.”