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Inverness paramedic speaks out on ambulance waiting times

By Louise Glen

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A paramedic has said it can take up to four hours for a patient to be admitted from an ambulance to hospital in Inverness.
A paramedic has said it can take up to four hours for a patient to be admitted from an ambulance to hospital in Inverness.

An Inverness paramedic has said the time taken to get patients admitted to hospital is a major part of difficulties over ambulance response times.

Mike Adams, who is known as @HighlandScouse on Twitter, was responding to a tweet by Scotland's health secretary, Humza Yousaf, earlier this week.

Mr Yousaf had posted: "People understandably upset and angry at long waits they're experiencing and I'm sorry for that. We're taking immediate action including new recruits coming onboard as we speak. Constantly exploring what more can be done.

"Opposition & media right to demand answers. I would hope, with Parliament's approval, to be able to lay out more detail early next week on additional measures we are taking. In the meantime, I thank our Ambulance staff who are doing an incredible job under enormous pressure."

Mr Adams responded: "I know there's extra funding and recruitment going on for the ambulance service with the D&C review Humza. But our biggest problem just now is bottlenecks at hospital.

"In 10 years in Inverness I'd never waited more than 30 minutes to hand a patient over, now it can be four hours.

"It's going to be difficult to recruit qualified staff to meet hospital and SAS [Scottish Ambulance Service] shortages."

He added that he could not see how this could be achieved in the short term.

A spokesman for NHS Highland said: "Ambulances having to wait is regrettable and we apologise to anyone who has been impacted by this.

"However, across Scotland, the NHS is experiencing significant sustained pressure which has been immeasurably exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Staff in our emergency department are experiencing exceptionally high demand and this can unfortunately lead us to being unable to admit more patients to the department.

"That pressure isn’t just affecting the emergency department – it is felt right across our system including social and primary care. We do not work in isolation: if one service is impacted, it affects us all. "

He added: "As with the rest of the hospital, the physical capacity at the emergency department continues to be reduced by Covid-19 to keep patients and staff safe."

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