Fourteen new ambulance posts are set to be created in a bid to help reduce on-call working throughout Scotland.
The new positions will be introduced in the north and west regions of the country as part of an extra £20m of funding from the Scottish Government.
Seven of the posts will be in the north with the same number in the west and will see paramedics and ambulance technicians “help reduce or eliminate” on-call working and provide 24 hour cover.
The Scottish Ambulance Service says their top priorities are the welfare of staff and removal of on-call working that will also “improve the work/life balance of staff and reduce fatigue”.
Out of these fourteen new ambulance posts, there will be three new ambulance posts in Broadford in Skye, where on-call will be eliminated, and where these new staff will be aligned with periods of increased demand.
This will be in addition to the investment as part of the Scottish Ambulance Service’s Demand and Capacity programme to reduce on-call hours in Dunvegan and Kyle.
Two new ambulance posts will be introduced to Fort William, which will eliminate on-call working there, and another two will be introduced in Kirkwall, bringing the number of staff to 16 across Orkney, in addition to an Advanced Practitioner Post which is now filled.
Seven new ambulance posts will also be introduced in Campeltown to significantly reduce on-call working, and to ensure the staff will cover periods of high demand.
This funding is on top of the £20m Scottish Government injection over the last two years.
Additional ambulances and low acuity resources will also be introduced as part of the new resources to help meet current and projected patient needs through the Demand and Capacity programme.
Pauline Howie, Chief Executive of the Scottish Ambulance Service said: “The additional paramedics and technicians will help to ensure we can provide full cover in some of our stations, including in Fort William and on Skye.
“These new measures will help to boost our capacity at a time when the NHS as a whole is facing unprecedented pressures, and will offer reassurance to communities across the region that we are investing in people and boosting our resilience.”
Health secretary Humza Yousaf said: “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 which is why we announced an additional £20m funding last week.
“These additional posts will help to improve the level of service for communities in these rural areas while reducing the pressure on the workforce, who are doing so much to serve the public during these incredibly demanding times.”