Villagers campaign for better ambulance service after woman’s death

Pam Anderson, 74, died from a heart attack in September as she was taken to hospital in Aberdeen.

Villagers are campaigning for a better ambulance service following the death of a local woman who “would do anything for anybody”.

Care home manager Pam Anderson, 74, died from a heart attack in September, while she was being taken from Braemar to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary by ambulance.

The village ambulance was withdrawn in 2007 and since then the nearest vehicle has been based 17 miles away in Ballater.

Mrs Anderson’s grieving family have highlighted her death in the hope that, in the future, Braemar will again be given appropriate resources.

Her daughter Sarah Christie said: “My mum was well-liked in the village and would do anything for anybody. Her death has brought home to us what a precarious situation we are in in this outlying community.”

Douglas Anderson, Pam’s husband, believes the ambulance crews were very professional and did everything they could to save his wife.

He said: “We have no complaints with them but there have been a few near-misses in the village over the years.

“This is perhaps a sign for local and national government that we need a better service for Braemar for the future.”

The first crew that arrived was a single-man crew from Ballater.
A two-man team later arrived from Tomintoul.

Donald Cruickshank, a local GP who attended, said: “A single-man crew can’t transport a patient to hospital. We are an hour and a half from Aberdeen, if we have to wait for a double-crew that can be critical.

“We were given an assurance when our ambulance was taken away all those years ago that there wouldn’t be a single-man crew attending to emergency calls but there have been several instances where this has happened.”

Braemar Community Council will write to the Scottish Ambulance Service, who have agreed to meet the family next week to discuss their concerns.

An ambulance service statement said: “We would like to express our deepest sympathies and condolences to the family following the tragic passing of Mrs Anderson.

“We are limited in what we can say due to patient confidentiality but we have contacted the family and arranged a meeting with them so that we can talk to them about any concerns they have, discuss the case and address in detail any points they wish to raise about our care.

“We will be keeping in close contact with the family and are very sorry for their loss.”

Meanwhile, local councillor Geva Blackett has contacted health secretary Jeane Freeman, requesting an investigation into the matter.

In a response, Ms Freeman said she was “saddened” to hear of the passing of Mrs Anderson.

She added: “On receipt of your correspondence I instructed the ambulance service to begin a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding this incident.

“This investigation is now under way and I understand that the service has arranged a meeting with Mrs Anderson’s family early next week to discuss their concerns.

“I have also asked that the service provide me with a full update following this meeting.”

Of the need for an improved service, Sarah added: “We don’t know if it could have changed the outcome for mum but maybe if we get the right resources it could for someone else.”

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