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Officials: Thousands of UK ambulances dispatched with single-member crew

A report found that paramedics were sent on their own to 2,204 calls in 2016 and 2017


By EMS1 Staff

SCOTLAND — Officials are under fire after a report found that more than 10,000 ambulances have been dispatched with one crew member on board in the past four years.

BBC News reported that the Scottish Ambulance Service originally said that single-member crews would only be sent in "exceptional circumstances." However, paramedics were sent on their own to 2,204 calls in 2016 and 2017. Officials blamed staff absences and said the number represented fewer than 2 percent of shifts, according to the report.

"Everyone accepts that in the emergency services, there will always be times where rules have to be bent and people need to adapt to developing situations," Health Spokeswoman Annie Wells said. "But for single crews to be sent out on 10,000 occasions in four years – when the specific policy is not to do that – is unacceptable."

The Scottish government said the numbers were "low" in comparison with the number of shifts across Scotland.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said they plan to add 1,000 extra paramedics in the next four years.

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