Braemar residents lay down last ditch attempt to work with Scottish Ambulance Chiefs

After what residents in Braemar describe as “eighteen months of frustrated negotiation attempts” with Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) chiefs, they have produced a plan to illustrate the simple steps required to meet an objective that the community agree will help save lives in the isolated community in the Cairngorms.

By Dawn Renton
Wednesday, 30th March 2022, 9:57 am
Ambulance support is needed in Braemar.

In an email to acting North Director, Euan Esslemont, Braemar Community Council Chair, Brian Wood said: “With our nearest ambulance being in Ballater - on a good day - and the journey from dialling 999 to arriving at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI) taking at least two hours, the objective is to provide ambulance support to transport a patient to either a local helipad or start a journey to meet a fully crewed ambulance team enroute or in the worst case scenario of no ambulance being available, all the way to ARI.

"Our plan sets out each step to achieve those ends and what the community will undertake and what we expect SAS to undertake.

"It’s not complicated.”

Braemar resident Doug Anderson’ wife Pamela tragically died in 2020 enroute to hospital after an inadequately crewed ambulance was sent to Braemar.

He said: “We are very lucky that we have a truly dedicated GP in the village and we have a generous donor willing to gift a fully equipped vehicle to the community.

“We have First Responders who are also Retained Firefighters, we have cardiac responders and with a mountain rescue team in the village the possibility some of them might want to help.

"The community can make this work, but SAS seem unwilling to see past brick walls of their own making.”

Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside Councillor, Geva Blackett who also lives in the village and has been involved in the campaign since day one in November 2020 said “I really think our patience is running out here.

"Every meeting seems to be why SAS can’t co-operate - unless it’s on their terms.

"This plan, approved by our GP Dr Donald Cruickshank, is really SAS’s last chance to come to the table and work proactively before we take political steps and go above their heads.

"What SAS seem unable to grasp is that by thinking out of the box in the way we suggest, pressures on their service will be relieved!”