Ambulance chiefs admitted this week that the emergency vehicle sent to attend Councillor Zandra Elliot took 15 minutes longer than the average response time.
The ambulance took 22 minutes to reach Hawick after being dispatched from Borders General Hospital.
Speaking to the Hawick News this week, Scottish Ambulance Service press spokesman John Morton conceded that the response time fell short of the average call out time of seven minutes. And he said the town’s two ambulances were on call dealing with other patients when the 999 call came in.
Mrs Elliot collapsed towards the end of a Common Good Fund meeting which was held last Tuesday.
In a further statement released earlier this week, a spokesman for the Scottish Ambulance Service said: “Our sincere condolences go to Zandra Elliot’s family at this difficult time. At the time of the 999 call both ambulances in Hawick were with other patients and the nearest available ambulance was dispatched from Borders General Hospital, arriving in 22 minutes.”
In last week’s Hawick News, both Councillors Davie Paterson and George Turnbull criticised what they described as a 30-minute delay.
Davie Paterson, who has written to service bosses, said: “I am flabbergasted that the nearest ambulance was at the BGH.
“I am not in a position to argue about the 22-minute claim but I have real concerns about the length of time it took for emergency services to arrive at the scene. This situation is not acceptable and I for one am looking for assurances that Hawick folk and those living outwith the town are receiving a good service.”
Councillor George Turnbull told the Hawick News that he would be writing to the Scottish Ambulance Service in the next few days.
n WITH regards to last week’s front-page story, ‘Fury over councillor’s wait for ambulance’, we’ve been asked by the family of the late Zandra Elliot to make clear that they do not share concerns voiced by Davie Paterson and George Turnbull over the length of time taken for the ambulance crew to arrive at the town hall last Tuesday. An Elliot family spokesperson said: “We have nothing but praise for the Ambulance Service and the treatment administered to Zandra.
n A very special lady, pages 4-5