FOI request reveals shocking number of single crewed ambulances in Scotland

Tens of thousands of ambulances were dispatched with single crew in Scotland over the past four years.

Despite the Scottish government previously saying single-crewing should occur only in “exceptional circumstances”, a FOI request has today revealed that paramedics were sent out on their own to 2,204 emergency call-outs in 2016/17, and 3,514 went out the year before.

The numbers have followed an upward trajectory since the data was first collected in 2013, when 1,644 ambulances were sent out with a single crew.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned against single-crew call-outs while she was health secretary a decade ago.

She said at the time: “I have made it clear to the Scottish Ambulance Service that it must take action to eliminate rostered single-manning.

“The policy of the Scottish government is clear – traditional accident and emergency ambulances should be double-crewed, with at least one member being a paramedic, unless in exceptional circumstances.”

The Scottish government say the numbers remain low in comparison with the actual number of shifts across Scotland.

A spokesperson said: “The statistics being quoted need to be seen within the wider context of over 670,000 shifts across this period, meaning only 1.5 per cent of these were single-crewed.

“We continue to recruit and train staff across the service to ensure we provide a high level of patient care at all times.”


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