A LOCAL councillor has raised concerns over lack of night-time ambulance cover in Inverclyde.

Councillor Ciano Rebecchi claims that patients are being left stuck because ambulances are being delayed for up to an hour at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

The veteran health services campaigner says NHS chiefs must step in to sort the problem out.

He said: "It is actually taking an hour and a half in some cases to discharge or admit patients.

"By the time ambulances get back to Inverclyde, they could have been out of the area or five and a half hours.

"I think we now need to look at different ways of discharging people so that ambulances are not tied up for an hour and a half.

"We need them back here.

"I want the people in charge to look at ways to improve the service to allow ambulance drivers to get back to their area as quickly as possible."

The Scottish Ambulance Service says it is taking action to improve the situation.

A SAS spokesman said: “Hospital turnaround times are affected by a wide range of factors, including high call volumes for ambulances, people self presenting at accident and emergency departments and people in care settings requiring hospital treatment.

“We recognise that there are pressures on hospitals during peak periods and we are continuing to work closely with health boards to improve turnaround times across Scotland.

“We have recruited a number of Hospital Ambulance Liaison Officers, including posts in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, who work with staff in hospitals to co-ordinate patient movements between hospital departments and wards to try to release ambulances as quickly as possible to respond to other 999 calls.”

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde say they were working with the ambulance service to ensure that paramedics are available when needed.

She said: "Our staff work jointly with our colleagues in the Scottish Ambulance Service to improve the flow of patients in and out of the hospital.

"We are working closely with the SAS to improve turnaround times at the QEUH, to ensure the safe transfer of patients to our emergency departments and assessment unit."