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Number of incidents attended by ambulance crews in Perthshire drop 7,000 amid pandemic

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Ambulance crews in Perth and Kinross were called out 7,000 fewer times this year, according to new figures.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request submitted to the Scottish Ambulance Service shows teams attended 10,699 incidents up to August, compared to 17,403 in the 12 months last year.

It’s thought the decline is at least partly connected to the coronavirus pandemic.

SNP MSP for Perthshire South and Kinross-shire, Roseanna Cunningham said: “One possible factor might be a reduction in road traffic accidents during those times when our roads have been significantly quieter than normal.

“Another may be that there were fewer of what might described as unnecessary callouts.”

However, she said there was concern that people may be reluctant to phone emergency services due to the added strain brought on by Covid-19.

“A more worrying possibility, of course, is people reticent to call an ambulance, when one was required, for fear of over-burdening the health system”, she said.

“That would be entirely understandable in these times but I would strongly urge people not to make that decision.

“If an ambulance is needed, call one.  That is what the emergency service is for.”

Scottish Conservative MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, Alexander Stewart, said: “Whilst the Covid pandemic continues to have an undoubted effect on our health services, there must be a clear message that our hospitals are ready to treat patients at all times.

“Otherwise we run the risk of having people lose their lives unnecessarily as a result of thinking they shouldn’t put pressure on our NHS.”

A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesperson added: “While we appreciate the public doing all they can to reduce the strain on our NHS at this challenging time, if people have serious health concerns or symptoms, it’s just as important as ever to seek immediate medical assistance.

“For immediate medical emergencies the public should call 999.

“The NHS is very much open and it is vital people continue to raise any health worries with the appropriate healthcare professional.”

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