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'Boycott' dismays Highland Tory on eve of ambulance debate

By Tom Ramage

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Highland MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston is "disappointed" that local SNP and Green colleagues have failed to support his motion on Scotland’s ambulance crisis.

The Scottish Conservative spoke out after his motion to be debated tomorrow – which has been backed by MSPs from all the opposition parties – was not supported by constituency or regional MSPs from either the SNP or Scottish Greens.

The motion commends the work of Scotland’s ambulance crews, but recognises that there are issues with recruitment across the service and that key targets are being missed.

Mr Halcro Johnston said: “It is very disappointing that my motion has apparently been boycotted by members of both governing parties.

“SNP and Green MSPs will be well aware of the real pressures on the ambulance service across the Highlands and Islands, and how this is causing real anger and concern for our constituents.

“Surely, of all issues, this is something we could all have come together on? But their refusal to back my motion suggests not.

“Despite the best efforts of ambulance crews, there are serious staffing and performance issues with the service."

The issues, he stressed, would have to be addressed.

“But unless the Scottish Government is prepared to face up to the realities of this crisis - one which has led to the British Army being drafted in to help - I worry that they simply won’t make the improvements which are so desperately needed.

“SNP and Green MSPs had the opportunity to join me and others in standing up for our constituents and putting pressure on their own ministers on the need for serious action to address the challenges facing the service.

“It is disappointing that, as happens too often, they have chosen to put loyalty to their parties first and responsibility to our constituents second”.

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