Unjustified criticism of ambulance service

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I WAS saddened to read the unfair criticism of the Scottish Ambulance Service in recent editions of the Hawick News.

At the centre of the dispute is the question of how long ill or injured people should have to wait for an ambulance. Whilst I do not have the facts to argue whether the recent casualties were dealt with correctly or not, let me just say this. Triage, the assessment of the severity and thus the urgency of the casualty’s condition, is a very difficult skill and requires both knowledge and experience. I doubt if the recent criticism came from people who have these attributes.

Nevertheless, we are entitled to ask if the criticism is justified. I say no. In a semi-rural, semi-urban are like the Borders, it is virtually impossible, especially with the limited financial resources, to have an ambulance, available and staffed with highly-trained paramedics, able to attend anywhere at any time!

In addition, since general practitioners are no longer available to “cover” evenings, nights and weekends, the Ambulance Services’s call-outs have escalated alarmingly, with the service treated by some as a free taxi service to Borders General Hospital.

Don’t take my word for this, just ask any ambulance workers. They serve us so well; I think they deserve our thanks, and an apology.

P. N. PATERSON-BROWN