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Talks on firefighters driving ambulances row

TALKS are continuing in an effort to allow firefighters in rural areas of Scotland like Shetland to drive ambulances in emergencies.

NHS Scotland chief executive Paul Gray said he wanted the situation to be resolved “quickly” and talks have taken place with Scottish Fire and Rescue Service chief officer Alasdair Hay.

The fire service recently banned its crew from driving ambulances in emergencies when paramedics are needed to treat patients in the back because of insurance and training worries.

Shetland taxi driver John Gold was involved in a serious car accident in Voe in August and he was driven to hospital in Lerwick by firefighters who had also been on scene.

Gold, who is still recovering in hospital, called on the fire service to reverse its decision.

SFRS assistant chief officer Lewis Ramsay said: “The safety of our communities and our firefighters is of paramount importance to the service and our operational policies are designed to ensure we deliver this at all times.

“We are committed to working with our unions and our counterparts in the Scottish Ambulance Service to agree national arrangements that will enable local flexibility and delivery.”