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More Ambulances Needed for Caithness

January 21, 2016


Caithness' civic leader Gail Ross has called for increased ambulance cover for the Far North.

Two vehicles are available to Wick and Thurso and surrounding communities.

But the ambulances and the crews have been involved in taking pregnant women to hospital in Inverness following a baby's death earlier this year.

The Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) said the situation had put "additional pressure" on the division, but it was handling it.

SNP councillor Ms Ross told BBC Alba she hoped the service would "beef up" its ambulance provision in the Far North.

SAS said making transfers of expectant mothers from Caithness General in Wick to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness had put "a little bit of pressure on to the division".

A spokesman added that it was not a busy area for call outs and ambulances were brought in from other areas if necessary.

In October, NHS Highland said the baby's death in Caithness earlier this year was "potentially avoidable" if there had been "more timely and immediate access" to advanced support in Inverness.

NHS Highland said an initial review of the incident had found no failings in the care provided by individual staff.

But it added that "a number of issues concerning the current arrangements and protocols for neonatal paediatric risk assessment and support" needed to be reviewed "to ensure the safety of both mothers and newborn babies in the future".

More women and their babies have since been transferred from the unit at Caithness General to Raigmore pre-birth, during labour, birth and in the post-natal period, the health board said.

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