Extra £20m boost for ambulance service to improve response times

The funding is aimed at improving response times, alleviate pressures and improve staff wellbeing.

Extra £20m boost for ambulance service to improve response times SAS

An additional £20m of funding is to be invested in the Scottish Ambulance Service to help improve response times.

The move, which is also intended to alleviate pressures on the service and improve staff wellbeing, was announced by health secretary Humza Yousaf on Tuesday.

In a statement at Holyrood Yousaf said the new investment will deliver assistance from more than 100 military personnel, including 88 drivers and 15 support staff, following final approval by the Ministry of Defence, who are expected to begin deployment from this weekend onwards.

Around 100 2nd year paramedic students will also help in ambulance control rooms and more hospital ambulance liaison officers at the busiest A&Es to “help ensure timely admission of patients at A&E and reduce ambulance waiting times”.

There will also be additional help from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in the form of volunteer drivers, as well as the British Red Cross and private transport companies “where clinically appropriate”.

The statement also revealed that immediate work to create temporary admission wards in hospitals, meaning patients can be admitted quicker, will begin straight away.

Yousaf also announced additional senior clinical input in ambulance control rooms to assist and help speed up decision-making on mental health, addictions, falls, breathing difficulties, high intensity users and trauma.

Half a million pounds will go towards funding staff wellbeing measures and there will be 14 additional staff members in Highland to reduce the on-call requirement in Campeltown, and remove it completely in Fort William, Kirkwall and Broadford.

The funding comes in addition to the £20m already announced as part of the NHS Recovery Plan.

That investment is aimed at delivering a net increase of almost 300 ambulance service staff by April 2022.

The health secretary said: “The global pandemic has created the most challenging crisis in the history of the NHS.

“Ambulance services around the UK, as well as the wider NHS, are experiencing unprecedented demand – largely because of COVID-19, but also due to a combination of increasingly complex cases, and exceptionally busy emergency departments.

“The Scottish Ambulance Service is the heartbeat of our NHS. It has a unique role in engaging with all parts of the health and social care system across the whole of Scotland – 24 hours of every day.

“It is vital that we ensure it has the support it needs to perform this crucial role.

“The additional investment I have set out today means that the Scottish Ambulance service’s frontline budget for this year is more than 16% higher than it was last year.

“The measures we have announced will begin to address some of these issues, both improving the level of service for the public, and also helping to reduce the pressure on the workforce, who are doing so much to serve the public during these incredibly demanding times.”

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