Cruise Arrivals


‘Impasse’ reached over isles first responder service

Orkney Islands Council’s leader, Heather Woodbridge.

Teams of first responders in some isles are said to have “stood down,” as Orkney’s representatives claim they have “reached an impasse” with Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) over an equal pay issue.

The leader of Orkney Islands Council (OIC), Councillor Heather Woodbridge, wrote to the Scottish Government last week, describing a “risk to life and limb.”

She says in her letter, written on behalf of the local community planning partnership, that emergency first responder cover in the isles is “patchy and, in some islands, non-existent.”

At the heart of the problem, Councillor Woodbridge says, is a disparity whereby first responders in some isles are paid and, in others, they carry out a similar service without compensation.

Despite almost two years of discussions with the ambulance service, the council leader claims that talks have stalled, and there is “no realistic prospect of progressing the matter” between the two organisations.

Her appeal to the government has been described as “disappointing” by SAS, which claims that it is “more than happy” to work together to find resolution, and that it is waiting to hear back from the council on next steps.

For the full story, pick up this week’s edition of The Orcadian, in shops and online.