Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart has welcomed the announcement that Scottish Government has taken action to increase isles patient transfer capacity to the mainland. The update today follows the military transfer of a patient ten days ago from the Gilbert Bain to intensive care in Aberdeen.
Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman, announced to Parliament that Epishuttle single isolation pods have been procured for the safety of patients and staff during transfers. The Epishuttles are due to go live in the coming days and that in the meantime the Scottish Ambulance Service is working with the RAF to cover transfers.
On 17 March Ms Wishart sought assurances from the Health Secretary in Parliament that medical evacuations would be carried out safely and efficiently. Ms Freeman replied that challenges had been overcome and the Scottish Ambulance Service would guarantee the transfer of any patient with a clinical need.
Ms Wishart said:
“I am pleased to see that protocols for patient transfer are now properly in place with increased capacity.
“With patients in Shetland some of the furthest away from intensive care in Scotland, it is vital that there is no hold up in using any of these assets. There are unconfirmed reports that the first patient transfer took 20 hours. It is important that lessons have been learnt and that the actions outlined today ensure future transfers are done much more quickly.”