ALMOST 30% of all emergency ambulance calls in the North-east are not being reached within the eight-minute target time, the Evening Express can reveal today.
And in some areas – including communities within Aberdeen – that figure rises to more than 85%.
The Scottish Ambulance Service is expected to respond to life-threatening calls within eight minutes.
Crews responded to 12,964 of these calls during 2014/15. They reached 9,285 calls within the target, but missed it 3,679 times – 28% of calls.
This falls short of Scottish Government targets, which expect at least 75% of emergency calls to be answered within eight minutes.
More than 80% of calls to Milltimber, Peterculter, Laurencekirk and Insch were outside the deadline.
However, 90% of calls to the Garthdee area were reached on time, as were 84% of emergencies in the city centre and Torry.
A spokesman for union GMB, which represents ambulance workers, said: “It has a lot to do with sickness, the amount of calls the service gets and the fact there are not the resources to deal with it and not replacing staff.
“Staff are leaving in their droves because they have just had enough.
“Morale is so low within the service at the moment and people are retiring long before they are supposed to.”
But an SAS spokesman said: “We have continued to invest in resources in Grampian and in the last year have recruited 54 new frontline staff in the region with a further 10 starting training this month.”
He added: “While the response time is an important aspect of pre-hospital care, the clinical expertise of ambulance teams is key to maintaining good outcomes.
“The ongoing development of clinical care skills is reflected in the consistently high survival rates as more lives are saved by ambulance teams every year.”
He added the average response time was 7.3 minutes.
A total of 38 ambulances cover the region with 14 based in Aberdeen.
There are five in Elgin while Banff, Dufftown, Fraserburgh, Inverurie and Peterhead have two. Alford, Ballater, Banchory, Buckie, Ellon, Huntly, Keith, Stonehaven and Tomintoul have one.