Health Secretary confirms investment in Scottish Ambulance Service as part of trauma network redesign

On Thursday 27 February, Stuart McMillan MSP received confirmation from the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport that the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) is receiving investment as part of the Scottish trauma network redesign.

The SNP MSP asked the Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman MSP, how she was ensuring local ambulance provision would not be disadvantaged when the West of Scotland trauma network is launched, following concerns raised at a local community council meeting.

In her response, Ms Freeman stated:

“By the end of 2019-20, we will have invested £33.4 million in the Scottish trauma network, which includes the Scottish Ambulance Service. Funding is planned to increase to £41.6 million annually by 2023-24.

“Thanks to the investment to date, the SAS trauma desk, which is based at the Glasgow ambulance control centre, is operational 24/7 and plays a vital role in the co-ordination of the service’s response to trauma. There is additional investment in major trauma equipment across the service’s emergency vehicle fleet.”

When Stuart asked the Health Secretary to give assurances to his constituents in Greenock and Inverclyde that the Scottish Ambulance Service will be able to meet the needs of the local community, and that the trauma network will not result in slower response times in Inverclyde, she added:

“…the Ambulance Service is really clear about our expectation that it gives consideration to the impact of any changes where additional demands are placed on its capacity.

“The SAS is undertaking a national review of demand and capacity, which will include the anticipated demand on it from the West of Scotland trauma network. It will use its experience from elsewhere in Scotland where there are trauma centres—Aberdeen and Dundee, currently. The review of demand and capacity will help it to ensure that it is able to meet demands and, from that, it will set out its requirements of the health service in terms of additional resources and where those resources need to be deployed.”

Commenting, Stuart said:

“I welcome the Health Secretary’s response to my Portfolio Question regarding local ambulance provision ahead of the West of Scotland Trauma Network being launched.

“The investment of over £33 million into the Scottish trauma network this year, which will increase to over £41 million by 2023/24, highlights the Scottish Government’s commitment to delivering the best care possible for trauma patients.

“It’s crucial that the local ambulance provision will not be negatively affected by trauma patients being taken to the RAH or QEUH, and that ambulances are either sent straight back down the A8 to Inverclyde, or ambulances from elsewhere are brought in to cover.

“Given the North of Scotland Trauma Network is already up and running in Aberdeenshire, I would expect the SAS to reflect on the demands and capacity on their service of this redesign, and use this to inform their service in the West of Scotland.

“The trauma network redesign will ultimately be good news for Inverclyde, as the IRH will be able to deliver more elective orthopaedic surgeries. With trauma patients being sent to the RAH and QEUH for urgent attention, it will also relieve pressures on our local Accident & Emergency department.”

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