Thursday, 25 July 2013

Emergency Responders 'Permanent'

Some of us remember all too well the fact that, when a group of campaigners travelled to Holyrood back in February 2012 to meet with Nicola Sturgeon, the then Secretary for Health & Wellbeing, we had absolutely no emergency medical cover on West Ardnamurchan.  The nearest help was the Strontian ambulance, over an hour away.

As a result of that lobby, the Scottish Ambulance Service set up our Emergency Responder unit, but on a temporary basis.  Yesterday, David Garbutt, Chairman of the Scottish Ambulance Service, came to Kilchoan to announce that the scheme would now be PERMANENT.  'Permanent' is a strong word, but it's both welcome and logical.  It's welcome because the four good people who have carried the service forward - Jessie, Sam, Maggie and Karen - have worked incredibly hard to make it a resounding success - witness the events on the Ormsaigbeg beach earlier today, and some forty other successful call-outs.  It's logical because the SAS have acknowledged that it is a so good that it should be a template for other remote, rural communities.

Mr Garbutt also announced that the evaluation of the service, something we have been pressing for, will now be both active and ongoing.

As if this weren't enough, he also launched the telehealth pilot in Kilchoan.  The dedicated satellite unit now working in the Kilchoan Learning Centre will, as of 1st August, be used in emergencies to connect the Emergency Responders and their patients to A&E specialists who will be able to advise them.  This is welcome because ongoing evaluation has already shown that some 40% of the casualties sent down the road to the Belford could have been dealt with locally.  The pilot won't deal with children, yet, but, from what our representatives have seen of its capabilities, it looks good, and may have many other uses, for example in general practice medicine.

We have come a long, long way since the low point of February 2012.  David Garbutt acknowledged the fighting spirit of this small community when he met with West Ardnamurchan Community Council chairman Rosie Curtis and secretary Jac Crosbie.  But let us make no mistake: any campaign, particularly one as long and complex as this one, needs leaders, and the people of West Ardnamurchan are fortunate in having two young ladies who's fighting spirit and hard work has led us through some dark, depressing times.   Thank you, Rosie and Jac.


  1. Great News ! Well done West Ardnamurchan ! Think we all need young ladies like Rosie and Jac in our community.

  2. It was great to read your blog tonight and to hear of the reward and success resulting from the hard work and dedication of the Kilchoan and surrounding community, firstly into developing a campaign and then establishing a new emergency response system. It is very reassuring for those of us who frequently visit the area to know that this emergency support is in place. Thank you. Colin