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Highlands MSP secures parliamentary debate on ambulance crisis

By Gavin Musgrove

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The growing crisis facing Scotland’s ambulance provision will be discussed in the Scottish Parliament next week after Highlands and Islands MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston secured cross-party support for a debate highlighting the challenges facing the service.

The Scottish Conservative MSP said: “In common with many MSPs, anxious constituents have been in touch with me concerned at lengthy waits for ambulances and fears the situation is worsening.

“This is a problem that people are experiencing across Scotland including here in the Highlands and Islands where the rurality of the region only exacerbates issues.

“While SNP ministers do all they can to blame the pandemic, the huge stresses on the Scottish Ambulance Service and its staff have been growing more severe over some time, with pressure mounting well before Covid-19 struck.

“The debate, which I hope the Health Secretary will recognise is important enough to attend in person and not leave a junior minister to deal with, will provide my MSP colleagues with the opportunity to highlight issues in their own areas.

“I hope it will leave Humza Yousaf in no doubt of the growing anger that many are feeling, and the real concerns of local residents.

“We need to hear from Humza Yousaf and Scottish Government what they are actually doing to address the crisis, how they are supporting hard-pressed NHS staff who – tasked with delivering the emergency service – are too often not adequately supported to do so, and make a start in restoring the confidence of the public which has been so badly undermined by recent events.

“As we have seen in recent weeks, this is quite literally a question of life and death and must be a priority for the Scottish Government”.

Mr Halcro Johnston is looking to highlight examples from across the Highlands and Islands, and constituents can email him at jamie.halcrojohnston.msp@parliament.scot with their experiences or concerns over their local ambulance provision.

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