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429 patients taken by ambulance from Caithness to Raigmore in a year

By SPP Reporter

AMBULANCES from Caithness transported 429 patients from the far north to Inverness with almost a third of those trips classed as emergency journeys last year.

Figures obtained from a freedom of information request revealed the number of times ambulances based in Thurso and Wick travelled with patients to Raigmore Hospital during 2016.

Of those journeys, a total of 133 were classed as an emergency with 55 of those journeys related to transfers and palliative care.

Falls was the second biggest reason for transporting patients from home in Caithness to Raigmore with 11 occasions last year and chest pains was third at 10 trips. Despite the cuts to maternity services at Caithness General Hospital in Wick, where strict embargoes were enforced as a result of the death of a baby in September 2015, only one emergency ambulance trip between Caithness and Inverness involved a pregnancy.

There are three ambulances based in Caithness located at stations in Thurso and Wick.

Both towns have one ambulance team which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

A third ambulance operates between Monday to Friday at either Wick or Thurso. The third ambulance operates two days from one location and three days from another.

A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We also move our resources around the area from some of our other locations to best fit in with the demand at the time of any given day.”

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