An 81 year-old woman waited 24 hours “for an ambulance that never turned up” Nicola Sturgeon has been told.

Anas Sarwar, Scottish Labour leader raised the case of Catrina McFarlane, from Alexandria, in West Dunbartonshire.

He said the woman has bone cancer that can cause significant pain and increases the risk of fractures.

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He told the First Minister how she had a fall at home last month and was told she would need to be taken to hospital in an ambulance at 10.15am.

Sarwar said: “By 11pm that night she was still waiting. The emergency operator said that they could not even guarantee an ambulance by the next morning.”

He added: “The following day Catrina’s husband gave up on waiting for an ambulance and took her to hospital himself, at which point she was diagnosed with a fractured pelvis. “

He asked the First Minister, “why did Catrina McFarlane have to wait nearly 24 hours for an ambulance that never turned up.”

Sturgeon said it was “not acceptable”.

She said: “Nobody should wait that length of time for an ambulance.”

She added the Scottish Government continued to "focus on supporting our NHS  through these difficult times so it can recover from the impact of the pandemic to get back to the level of service all patients can expect.”

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She said that the number of paramedics has increased under the SNP and the ambulance service had received an additional £45m in funding to support improvement.

She added: “While an experience like that is not acceptable and there will be other patients having experiences like that right now, but the vast majority of people get an extraordinary good service.”

Sarwar said: “Week after week, year after year, the First Minister comes and tells us it’s unacceptable then tells people to accept the unacceptable with devastating consequences. Change the script.”

Labour said there was a crisis in ambulance waiting times with ambulances queuing for hours at hospitals.

Sarwar added: “In the past month, over 2,700 ambulances across Scotland waited at least an hour and fifty minutes to drop off their patients.
“At just one hospital in one month, the Queen Elizabeth in Glasgow, 218 ambulances waited over three hours.”

The Labour leader quoted an ambulance worker who said: “Waiting times at the Queen Elizabeth and elsewhere are not a post-pandemic issue, we have been raising this for as long as I've been in the service but sadly the times are getting longer, patients are getting sicker and it's happening in all seasons now not only the winter months.”

Sturgeon said there was no easy answer and there was a need for investment in the wider health service to improve performance in the ambulance services.

She said: “The NHS is not immune from wider economic and budgetary decisions that are out of the hands of our government” and said they were “impacted by decisions of the Tories at Westminster”.

Sturgeon added: “I will always listen to the workforce in our NHS, they are the experts but I won’t insult their intelligence by pretending these issues are easy to resolve.”