Plans to increase ambulance provision in Caithness have been announced by the Scottish Ambulance Service and NHS Highland.
The investment follows a review showing an increase in inter-hospital tranfers between Caithness General Hospital and Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.
Scottish Ambulance Service Chief Executive Pauline Howie said, “We are delighted to have agreed significant investment with NHS Highland to increase our resources in Caithness and help ensure patients receive access to the highest possible levels of care.
“This funding complements wider investment across the North of Scotland in response to changing patient needs and access to more specialist health service delivery.
“Working with our staff, community partners and NHS Highland, we identified the need for additional ambulance resources in Caithness, in particular to respond to the growing number of patients whose health care needs mean they require to be transported to Raigmore.
“We will announce the full detail of the resources following further work with local staff and partners and would like to thank NHS Highland for their support in reaching this agreement.”
Milne Weir, General Manager for the Scottish Ambulance Service’s North Division, said,
“Our staff are busier than ever and providing excellent care to patients across Caithness.
“This investment is very welcome and we will continue to work with our staff, their representatives and NHS Highland to develop our service in Caithness both in the short term and as we put additional staff in place.
“We will be advertising for new and qualified ambulance staff in the following weeks, with the additional staff going through a period of training following the recruitment process.”
Elaine Mead, Chief Executive for NHS Highland, said, “I am grateful to colleagues for carrying out a review of inter-hospital transfers and for working up this funding proposal.
“The additional investment will mean local people can access specialist care in Raigmore in a timely manner while ensuring there is appropriate ambulance cover in Caithness.
“It is really important that we make the best use of this resource and I welcome input of staff and local stakeholders to support this going forward.”