This story is all over BBC UK broadcasts and online, but Reporting Scotland seem to be struggling to dig up a Worse Together story for you. Could this be the reason?
‘The Scottish Ambulance Service changed the way it responds to the most unwell patients in 2016 with 999 call handlers giving the highest priority to incidents such as cardiac arrests. An evaluation of the changes has found the system has saved the equivalent of 1182 lives. Under the new system, call handlers are taking longer on the phone to despatch paramedics and some lower priority calls are waiting longer for an ambulance. A Freedom of Information request by the Scottish Conservatives revealed that an additional 62 patients were saved in Lothian as a result of the changes in 2017. The ambulance service is facing increased demand, with the number of incidents in January last year up by nine per cent on 2016.’
Poor old Miles Briggs MSP, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health did his best to find something he could moan about but struggled:
‘I respect the rationale behind the new model for handling 999 calls, prioritising the most seriously ill patients, and the progress this has had in improving out of hospital cardiac arrest. It is vital that we see progress to increase recruitment of additional paramedics to help reduce waiting times for ambulances, that have sadly been lengthened over the last year.’
‘I respect the rationale?’ Steady son!
Both the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) and researchers at the University of Stirling have concluded that the new approach is making a huge difference.