BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 February 2008, 15:06 GMT
Woman waits an hour for ambulance
Ambulance at accident and emergency
The Scottish Ambulance Service has response time targets to meet
The Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) has defended its response times after an elderly woman waited over an hour for an emergency ambulance.

The 74-year-old in Tummel Bridge had been feeling dizzy when she dialled 999 last year and had her case classed as life-threatening by medics.

The SAS claimed it was "very rare" for such a delay.

Latest figures found the average response time in Tayside was currently 8.6 minutes.

Dundonians have the shortest average wait at 7.4 minutes, while Pitlochry locals face the longest wait of 11.4 minutes.

For Category B incidents - which are not life-threatening, but still serious - the average wait was found to be 9.7 minutes.

The slowest response time in that category was the one hour and 25 minutes it took to reach a 60-year-old with a suspected fractured leg.

In the case of the 74-year-old, who had a retired nurse with her, the service said that local crews had been dealing with other calls when she fell ill and a vehicle from Perth was immediately sent out.

A spokesman added that a paramedic had been put on the phone to talk to the caller, and the nearest available doctor was told to attend.

He said the doctor arrived within 36 minutes and the outcome had been "positive".

Last year the number of ambulances based in Pitlochry was cut from two to one.

Concerned locals included John Grant from the Mid Atholl, Strathtay Community Council who addressed the Scottish Parliament's Petitions Committee on the issue.

He told the BBC Scotland News website he was concerned at pensioner's wait.

He said: "It all goes down to money really, but an hour is a long time, especially for an elderly lady.

"The Pitlochry area itself - we used to laugh and joke that if you put a hood over Pitlochry you could actually call it an old people's home, because there is that many people come to the area to retire.

"When you do get older you start catching all those infections and that sort of stuff, so I think you really should have the two ambulances in the Pitlochry area."

The Scottish Ambulance Service has national response time targets to meet.

By the end of March 2009, ambulances should be reaching 75% of the life-threatening category A calls within eight minutes, and 95% of category B calls within 19 minutes.

Average ambulance response times 2007/08

Arbroath 8.3 8.8
Blairgowrie 10 11.7
Brechin 10.9 11.7
Crieff 11 10.9
Dundee 7.4 8.1
Forfar 9.4 10.3
Monifieth 8.8 10.2
Montrose 9.7 10
Perth 8.5 9.4
Pitlochry 11.4 11.6
Tayside Average 8.6 9.7
Source: Scottish Ambulance Service

MSPs consider ambulance demands
16 Jan 08 |  Tayside and Central
Dying man in breakdown ambulance
30 Nov 07 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Talks on ambulance staff concerns
19 Oct 07 |  Highlands and Islands

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific