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29 May 2003

(S2O-3) Scottish Ambulance Service

6. Stewart Stevenson (Banff and Buchan) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive what progress has been made in reducing the amount of on-call work carried out by Scottish Ambulance Service staff. (S2O-3)

The Minister for Health and Community Care (Malcolm Chisholm): Last year, the Scottish Ambulance Service converted stations at Dunoon, Fraserburgh and Stranraer from part-time to full-time working. The service has a programme of reducing on-call work wherever possible and constantly monitors on-call hours worked.

Stewart Stevenson: Is the minister aware that the Scottish Ambulance Service's chief executive wrote to me on 10 April last year to give the commitment that Peterhead station would be upgraded to full-time working? Staff were told on 22 April 2002 that 10 staff would be recruited in the year ending April 2003. On 28 February 2003, the then Deputy Minister for Health and Community Care could not give me a date for full-time working at Peterhead. When will the Executive fulfil its commitments, give me a date and give the people of north-east Scotland the service that they need?

Malcolm Chisholm: That decision is properly for the Scottish Ambulance Service's chief executive. One of the service's priority stations for conversion from part-time to full-time work is Peterhead, but Mr Stevenson should remember the other significant changes that have taken place in the service in his area recently, such as the start of priority dispatch, joint working initiatives with the national health service and full-time working at Fraserburgh, to which I referred. He should also remember the significant developments in the service throughout Scotland, most notably the recruitment of 200 extra emergency ambulance staff in one year—last year—throughout Scotland.

Stewart Stevenson: That is a no, is it, minister?

The Presiding Officer: Order.

Stewart Stevenson
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