£7.5 million investment in ambulance defibrillators will save more lives in Scotland

The Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) will install new lifesaving defibrillators on all of its ambulances this year. The state of the art technology will replace existing defibrillators in a £7.5 million initiative funded by the Scottish Government Health Department.

The new Laerdal HeartStart MRX machines were chosen after an extensive procurement process, which included weeks of field trails with ambulance crews around the country. They include 12 lead ECG diagnostic and interpretive capabilities, which provide greater detail on patients’ cardiac rhythm and diagnosis. This allows better quality information to be transmitted to specialist receiving cardiac centres while the ambulance is en route.

Pauline Howie, Chief Executive, Scottish Ambulance Service, said:
“In most instances of heart attacks, ambulance staff are the first response. It is important that our paramedics and technicians have the most advanced technology available to help them deliver the highest standards of care to patients. The new defibrillators will be introduced into all of our 526 emergency ambulances by the end of the year and will make a significant contribution to saving lives in Scotland on a daily basis.

“Our staff were heavily involved in the process of choosing the preferred solution and the combination of portability, functionality and reliability were key factors in the final decision.  Ambulance crews work closely with cardiologists at centres around the country and the increased diagnostic functionality of the new machines will enhance the quality of information available to specialists, improving the likelihood of a positive outcome for patients. ”

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said:
“Getting the best possible treatment, at the earliest possible opportunity, is vital when it comes to saving people’s lives.

“That’s why the Scottish Ambulance Service has fitted defibrillators in all their accident and emergency ambulances to ensure that when people need this potentially lifesaving treatment it is available – wherever they are.

“The rollout of the latest technology will help the ambulance service deliver an even better service to patients throughout Scotland.”

The SAS responds to over 33,000 cardiac related emergencies in Scotland every year and currently reaches more than 80% of them in under 8 minutes, against a standard of 75%.

More patients may be treated at home by paramedics

Published Date: 18 February 2010

By Lyndsay Moss

Health Correspondent

MORE patients calling an ambulance in Scotland could be treated at home by paramedics rather than going to hospital, a report on the future for the service reveals.

The “strategic vision” for the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) over the next five years suggests more conditions could be treated without going to hospital, reducing trips to busy A&E departments.

At present, conditions that can be dealt with by paramedics at home under so-called “see and treat” guidelines are panic attacks, fainting, minor head injuries, fitting and epilepsy, diabetes and asthma. The report also said the service would work with “vulnerable” rural communities to improve the services they received, including more home care.

The SAS said it would develop a new system with NHS 24 and local out-of-hours providers to make sure patients got through to the right service they needed, after its consultation suggested widespread public confusion.

It comes after The Scotsman revealed last week that doctors were increasingly concerned the NHS will not be able to cope with rising demand for emergency out-of-hours services.

The report, which follows a lengthy public consultation, looks at plans to improve the care given to patients from 2010 to 2015.

Demand for ambulances is growing every year. Between 2003-4 and 2008-9, call-outs went up 35 per cent, with a 41 per cent rise out of hours. At the same time, more patients are being treated in Scottish A&Es. This year, it is expected they will deal with more than 1.6 million patients.

Click the link to read more about The “strategic vision” for the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS)

Scottish Ambulance Service reviews the air ambulance service


Our aircraft do not belong to the Service but are owned and operated by a private company on a contractual basis.  We have started the tender process for this contract, which expires on 31 March 2013.

As part of this process and our commitment to continually improve our service, we are seeking the views of patients, the public and healthcare partners on the Air Ambulance Service.  If you are a patient or a healthcare partner, please complete one of the following surveys.

Patient survey

Health professional survey

This survey is part of a wider consultation process which also involves meetings with a wide range of groups across Scotland. If you are a member of the public who wishes to share your views, the Service will be running a number of consultations in the following locations:

  • Lerwick
  • Kirkwall
  • Barra
  • Stornoway
  • Campbletown
  • Oban
  • Stranraer
  • Aberdeen
  • Inverness
  • Glasgow
  • Edinburgh

Full details will be published at the end of October.

Inverness based air ambulance co-ordination service to be centralised in Glasgow.

Delays concern voiced over air ambulance service shake-up

transfer of co-ordination to central belt raises fears

Published: 15/10/2009

THE air ambulance service in the north and north-east could be hit by delays from next week as the result of a communications shake-up, a staff member warned yesterday.

The Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) is transferring the co-ordination of air ambulance medical transfer requests for the north – currently handled by communications staff at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness – to a new unit near Glasgow.

Scottish Ambulance chiefs have insisted the switch will improve efficiency.

But one Inverness-based staff member said that adding another link in the chain of command could lead to delays. He is also worried that lack of local knowledge among central belt colleagues would add to the risks.

“This is centralisation when local knowledge is king,” the worker added.

A spokesman for the SAS said calls for hospital transfers by air ambulance in the north were currently passed to its aircraft operator, Gamma Aviation, to arrange.

From 8am on Monday, calls received in Inverness will be relayed to a new “inter-hospital transfer team” in Cardonald, Glasgow, which will then dispatch the aircraft.

Read more about the air ambulance co-ordination here