Highlands and Islands MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston has said he is disappointed local SNP and Green MSPs have failed to support his motion on Scotland’s ambulance crisis.
The Scottish Conservative MSP spoke out after his motion, which will be debated tomorrow (Tuesday) in the Scottish Parliament, and which has been backed by MSP from all the opposition parties, was not supported by constituency or regional MSPs from either the SNP or Scottish Greens.
The motion commends the work of Scotland’s ambulance crews, but recognises that there are issues with recruitment across the service and that key targets are being missed.
Mr Halcro Johnston said: “It is very disappointing that my motion has apparently been boycotted by members of both governing parties. SNP and Green MSPs will be well aware of the real pressures on the ambulance service across the Highlands and Islands, and how this is causing real anger and concern for our constituents.
“Surely, of all issues, this is something we could all have come together on? But their refusal to back my motion suggests not. Despite the best efforts of ambulance crews, there are serious staffing and performance issues with the service. These have to be addressed. "
“But unless the Scottish Government is prepared to face up to the realities of this crisis - one which has led to the British Army being drafted in to help - I worry that they simply won’t make the improvements which are so desperately needed."
“SNP and Green MSPs had the opportunity to join me and others in standing up for our constituents and putting pressure on their own ministers on the need for serious action to address the challenges facing the service."
“It is disappointing that, as happens too often, they have chosen to put loyalty to their parties first and responsibility to our constituents second”.
The text of Jamie Halcro Johnston’s motion is provided below.
Motion ref. S6M-01136 Ambulance Services Across Scotland
Submitted by: Jamie Halcro Johnston, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party.
Date lodged: Friday, September 10, 2021
That the Parliament commends the efforts of hard-working ambulance staff over the challenging period since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic; recognises what it sees as the importance of an effective ambulance service to rural communities and, in particular, to those remote communities in the Highlands and Islands region; considers that issues exist around staffing and recruiting of staff across Scotland; believes that a number of performance indicators for the Scottish Ambulance Service have been missed over this period, and acknowledges the view that there is a need for an effective strategic plan to support the Service to recover as Scotland emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.