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Scots emergency ambulance call-outs rocket

Emergency ambulance call-outs in parts of Scotland have risen sharply – and the GP opt out from out-of-hours care is being blamed

Figures show that the number of responses was 62,455 in the Lothians in 2006/7, up more than 6 per cent on the previous year.

Tory health spokeswoman Mary Scanlon said: ‘The GP contract was negotiated with little consideration of its effect on accident and emergency units and the ambulance service. There is no doubt that patients have little confidence in their ability to seek out a GP out of hours and they are finding that the best alternative is to call an ambulance.'

Cabinet secretary for health and well-being, Nicola Sturgeon, said: ‘In recent years there have been changes to the way in which out-of-hours services are provided and we acknowledge that some people may be unclear about them.'

Figures for England show that there were 6.3 million 999 calls for ambulances in 2006/7, almost double the number of calls received ten years previously.

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