A new emergency response vehicle that can treat patients at home and provide back up for A and E ambulances is now in operation in Skye.
The Rapid Response Unit is kitted out with a wide range of medical equipment and will provide valuable care in the community.
Alan Knox, Area Service Manager for Lochaber, Skye and Lochalsh District, told the Free Press: “This Rapid Response Unit is one of several vehicles in the Skye region currently being evaluated for operational use in rural areas.
“It will be used for paramedics to respond to patients who may not require transport to hospital and are able to be treated at home. It will also be used to support ambulance crews at some calls when required.”
He added: “It will help us provide resilience in different parts of the island – we are rotating paramedics so it will give us good support.
“We have ambulances in Dunvegan, Portree, Broadford, and Kyle. But at times when the tourist industry is high and we have peak activities, we can move this vehicle round to support the A and E ambulance crews.”
The Rapid Response Unit forms part of the recommendations outlined in the Ritchie report – Sir Lewis Ritchie’s independent external view of Skye, Lochalsh, and South West Ross out of hours services – which was published in May 2018.
Ross Cowie is the community lead for the urgent care aspect of the Ritchie report recommendations.
Commenting to the Free Press he said: “This is great news for the Skye communities as we deliver further implementations of the Ritchie report recommendations.
“The Scottish Ambulance Service have done fabulously with this.”
Sophie Isaacson is an integral figure in the implementation of the report’s recommendations through her role as Project Support Officer for the Portree and Braes Community Trust,
She told the Free Press: “This vehicle is going to be a great resource for Skye.
“It is very encouraging to see so much extra support for the communities of Skye and Raasay come from the Scottish Ambulance Service over the past 12 months.”
Alan Knox gave the Free Press a look round the new Rapid Response Unit outside Portree Hospital earlier this week.