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National Conversation
Thursday 8 October 2015
A national conversation about the long term future of health and social care services in Scotland has begun. The conversation will seek agreement on how to make more progress in improving the health of the population, and on how our NHS and social care systems should develop by 2030 to continue supporting everyone to live well.
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Latest News
Unique Procurement Shortlisted for Award
Tuesday 29 September 2015

The Scottish Ambulance Service has been shortlisted as a finalist in this year’s Government Excellence in Public Procurement Awards for a unique initiative that has saved over £300,000 in it’s first year.

The awards recognise excellence within procurement and the benefits to the wider community that that can be delivered through smart, ef...

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Latest News
£1.2m investment in New East Kilbride Ambulance Station
Thursday 24 September 2015

David Garbutt, Chairman of the Scottish Ambulance Service, formally opened a new purpose built ambulance station in East Kilbride today.

The new facility cost £1.2 million and has been constructed on the site of the previous station, which was originally built next to Hairmyres hospital in1976.

The station serves as an operational...

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Latest News
New Base for Patient Retrieval Teams is a First
Monday 21 September 2015

Scotland’s national specialist transport and retrieval service for critically ill NHS patients, SCOTSTAR, has moved into a new purpose build base at Glasgow airport.

For the first time anywhere in the UK all of Scotland’s national retrieval services will operate from a central base with immediate access to specialist vehicles and aircraft...

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Calling 999

When to call 999

You should always call 999 if someone is seriously injured or their life is at risk

Some examples of medical emergencies include:

  • chest pain;
  • breathing difficulty;
  • unconsciousness;
  • severe loss of blood;
  • severe burns or scalds;
  • fitting or concussion;
  • drowning;
  • severe allergic reactions;
  • choking;
  • a child with sudden unexpected symptoms.

If it is not a life threatening of serious emergency you should consider other options before dialling 999.
These could include:

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When you call us

When you call 999 an operator will ask which emergency service you need. If it’s a medical emergency, ask for the ambulance service and you will be put through to one of our call takers.

What information will I need?

You will be asked to provide the following information:

  • the address where you are, including postcode, if possible;
  • the phone number that you are calling from;
  • what has happened.

As soon as we know where you are, help will be on its way to you.

You will also be asked to give some additional information such as:

  • the patient’s age, sex and medical history;
  • whether the patient is conscious, breathing and if there is any bleeding or chest pain;
  • details of the injury and how it happened.

Answering these questions does not delay the response, but helps us to give you important first aid advice while the ambulance is on its way.

The extra information also helps to make sure that we send the most appropriate help to you.

What can I do before help arrives?

Before the ambulance arrives, you can help us by doing the following:

  • if you are outside, stay with the patient until help arrives;
  • call us back if the patient’s condition worsens;
  • call us again if your location changes;
  • if you are calling from home or work, ask someone to open the doors and signal to ambulance staff where they are needed;
  • lock away any family pets;
  • if you can, write down the patient’s GP details and collect any medication that they are taking;
  • tell us if the patient has any allergies;
  • stay calm – our staff are there to help. Violence or threatening behaviour will not be tolerated and could delay getting help to the patient.

How can I be prepared for an emergency?

There are things that you can do today to help us in the future:

  • check that your house number can be seen from the road;
  • if you live on an estate, check that there is a clear sign to direct emergency services and that the lifts are working.
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Who will treat you

As soon as we have enough information and we believe you need immediate medical treatment, we will send help.

There are a number of ways in which we respond, depending on the circumstances:

Emergency Ambulance

Frontline emergency ambulances with a crew of two, one of which will be a paramedic, respond to the majority of emergency calls. Ambulance Technicians and Paramedics are trained to deal with life threatening illnesses and injuries. We carry a full range of medical equipment on our ambulances, including electrocardiogram (ECG) machines to monitor a patient’s heart and defibrillators which can restart the heart if a patient goes into cardiac arrest.

Paramedic Response Unit (PRU)

Paramedic Response Units are normally crewed by a paramedic working on their own. They will go to patients by car or motorcycle and carry all of the life saving equipment needed in a medical emergency. In life threatening situations, they can provide a vital, fast response and they will be backed up by an emergency ambulance that can take you to hospital.

Special Operations Team (SORT)

Specialised Paramedics, Technicians and Logistics Staff trained to gain access and administer care for patients in hazardous or difficult environments and at the scene of major incidents. SORT also deploy to provide paramedical support for other agencies involved in potentially hazardous environments.

Community Paramedics

These are paramedics who have undertaken extra clinical training. They are able to thoroughly investigate a patient’s condition and situation and then make a qualified decision about the best way to progress their treatment. They often work with minor injuries units and out of hours doctor services and can refer patients to the most appropriate care if a visit to hospital is not required.

Air Ambulance

We operate two emergency helicopters and two fixed wing planes. They are often asked to assist at incidents where there may problems with inaccessible terrain or where a very fast evacuation to hospital is preferable to a journey by road ambulance.

Community First Responders

These are members of the community who have been trained to provide first aid and other medical skills while the ambulance is on its way to you. They are able to deliver treatments that are time critical, such as using a shock box in cardiac cases.

BASICS Scotland Responders (British Association of Immediate Care)

BASICS Responders are Doctor's, Nurses and Paramedics who have received additional Pre-Hospital Emergency Training through BASICS Scotland. Each of the Responders are provided with a Sandpiper Medical/Trauma Response bag and access to a Defibrillator. Many Responders have also been issued with an Ambulance Service Airwave Radio and a Vehicle Locater System to allow contact and best resourcing via their Emergency Medical Dispatch Centre.

Paramedic Clinical Advisor

If the incident is not life threatening, you may be passed by telephone to one of our Paramedic Clinical Advisors, or to NHS 24, who will give you assistance or point you in the right direction for help.

Whatever your reason for calling us, the Emergency Medical Call Taker who answers your call will ensure that you receive the most appropriate response and liaise with other services and professionals where necessary.

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