Delays concern voiced over air ambulance service shake-up
transfer of co-ordination to central belt raises fears
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.