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New deal on ambulance delays

The Scottish Ambulance Service has been forced to rethink its call-taking procedures for admissions from GPs, after a fourfold rise in urgent requests over the past year.

GPs in Scotland have reported frequent delays in ambulance response, some waiting more than four hours for an ambulance requested within the hour.Under a new agreement with the Scottish GPC which came into force this week, the SAS has created extra categories for GPs to use when calling for an ambulance for patients. Previously, GPs could opt for an ambulance immediately, within the hour or within four hours. However, they will now also be able to request a response within two or three hours, or more than four hours.Dr Andrew Buist, joint deputy chair of the SGPC, said: 'In the future, I would hope that if a GP judges the patient needs an ambulance within the hour, then that is what happens.'

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