Ambulance Service Denies Lack Of Cover For Scilly

An allegation that there was no ambulance cover on Scilly for four hours last Monday has been denied by South Western Ambulance Service Trust, although they admit the paramedic vehicle was left unmanned for 90 minutes at the airport.

The claim was made in an anonymous letter sent to Radio Scilly, which alleged there was no qualified person on duty from 11am, when one staff member finished their rota and the arrival of cover from the mainland at 3pm, which was delayed because of the bad weather.

We understand the 4×4 ambulance and keys were left at the airport until the cover arrived.

Steve Boucher, the Head of Operations for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly said SWAST take the allegations very seriously and the matter has been investigated locally.

He assured us that there was cover on the day in question, adding that the member of staff was hoping to meet their paramedic colleague at the airport to carry out an official handover but, owing to the challenging weather conditions, there were problems with them reaching the islands.

Steve said the member of staff booked off the 4×4 but remained available to ambulance control and left the vehicle at the airport to await the arrival of their colleague.

They informed Trust Headquarters in Exeter and a retained ambulance colleague on the islands that they had their pager and could be contacted to respond to an incident if required.

“Owing to the weather conditions preventing the paramedic from reaching the islands, the 4×4 resource was not manned for a total of 90 minutes and not four hours as the anonymous letter proposes,“ says Steve.

“Obviously, any delay is unfortunate and should be avoided where at all possible as the health needs of islanders are of paramount importance,” he added.

Steve said he would welcome discussing the matter with the person who sent the anonymous letter.