18-hour ARI ambulance turnaround amid ‘dark period’ of ambulance stacking

23/12/2023
Tess White (Scottish Conservative shadow public health minister) at ARI

ABERDEEN Royal Infirmary saw Scotland’s longest ambulance turnaround times over the last year, sparking calls for the SNP government to “get a grip” of a growing crisis. 

Medics waited up to 18 hours to clear the hospital during a “dark period” in January, the longest wait at any hospital between November 2022 and last month. 

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The average turnaround time was 89 minutes, with average waits of up to 90 minutes and 6 seconds in the spring. 

Information obtained by the Scottish Conservatives show strained services across the board, with longest waits of 612 minutes at Dr Gray’s in Elgin, 297 minutes in Perth Royal Infirmary and 574 minutes at Kirkcaldy’s Victoria Hospital. 

The longest wait at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee was just under eight hours with an average waiting time of 35 minutes over the course of the year. 

In response to questions from Douglas Ross earlier this month, deputy first minister Shona Robison apologised to “anyone who has either experienced any waits for an ambulance to reach them.” 

She told MSPs that some ambulances “are taking longer than they should to turn around at the front door of our hospitals.” 

Tess White, Scottish Conservative shadow public health minister, said: “The issue of ambulance stacking is very much in the public eye, and pictures of queuing ambulances are upsetting for the public, medical staff and the health board. 

“It is prevalent across Scotland, not just in Aberdeen or any one place, but it’s definitely compounded by the rural nature of some areas. We are in a dark period.

“We need to hear from Humza Yousaf and the SNP Scottish Government about how they will get a grip of this growing crisis.  

“How are they supporting NHS staff, burdened with delivering emergency services, who too frequently lack adequate support?  

“Ambulance crews constitute a vital component of our NHS and, akin to other frontline sectors, bear the brunt of poor workforce planning under the SNP Scottish Government.” 

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