Hundreds of paramedics to be recruited thanks to funding increase.
An increase in funding of £11.4 million for the Scottish Ambulance Service in 2016/17 will see around 300 extra paramedics recruited over the next five years.
The 5.4 per cent increase, announced as part of last week's Budget, will also support the recruitment of additional clinical advisers and dispatch staff in control rooms, as well as investment in developing new models of care for some of Scotland's remote and rural communities.
This is in line with the Ambulance Service's Strategy "Towards 2020: Taking Care to the Patient" which supports the overall vision for the health service to provide more care to patients at home or in the community and help to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions.
Health Secretary Shona Robison said:
"The Scottish Ambulance Service is a vital frontline emergency service and this is rightly reflected in the largest increase in funding in nine years.
"We value the dedication of our ambulance workers extremely highly. They provide a first class service, often under challenging and physically demanding circumstances, and it is important we ensure they are equipped with the appropriate skills, training and clinical support to be able to deliver even more care in the community.
"Our vision for a health service that meets the changing needs of our population, also needs our local services to evolve. With this vision, and with a higher increase in its budget than Scotland's other special health boards, the ambulance service will be better prepared to meet the needs and the challenges of the future, working with local services."
"We continue to invest record amounts in our health service, with Scotland spending significantly more per head than in England. Last week's Budget saw health spending rise to almost £13 billion for the first time, which shows once again that health is an absolute priority for this Government."
Pauline Howie, Chief Executive, Scottish Ambulance Service, said:
"We welcome this additional funding, which comes at a time when ambulance staff are busier than ever. It will support investment in more frontline resources and the introduction of new ways of working as we implement our "Towards 2020" strategy to ensure that every patient receives the most appropriate care, whether at home or in the hospital."
Last week's Budget saw the SAS awarded an increase of £3.6 million (1.7 per cent) in 2016/17 – compared to a 1 per cent increase for each of the other Special Health Boards.
In addition to this, the Board will receive £5 million on a recurring basis to support the SAS strategy, and a further £2.8 million of recurring allocations transferred to the Board's baseline.