Life-saving roadside trauma team scrapped by Scots NHS after more than 40 years

Medic One provided a life-saving service to patients for 44 years.
-Credit: (Image: Edinburgh Emergency Medicine/Creative Commons License.)

A crack team which has provided life-saving treatment to Scots patients for over 40 years has been scrapped. Medic One provided emergency care for major trauma patients before they arrived at hospital.

But staff were told it was being scrapped from today, Monday, July 1, 2024, as it is no longer sustainable. A letter was sent to workers telling them of the shock change.

The letter, sent by the director of NHS Lothian, states the service is "no longer sustainable, nor equitable to other parts of Scotland and the UK" due to training advancements.

NHS Lothian Medical Director Tracey Gillies.
NHS Lothian Medical Director Tracey Gillies. -Credit:X

The communication, seen by Edinburgh Live, also states the Scottish Ambulance Service has begun a commissioning exercise to develop a new pre-hospital service.

The new service will cover the East and South-East of Scotland, and more details on the service and how it will run are expected later in the year.

The Edinburgh Emergency Medicine website credits Medic One in south east Scotland for not only saving many lives but also helping trauma patients survive with a meaningful quality of life.

Medic One, which served Edinburgh, the Lothians and the Borders for 44 years, provided medical equipment and drugs similar to those used in emergency rooms - allowing the team to undertake advanced medical care at the scene.

They also helped those in need of care who cannot wait to be transported to the emergency room. The health board's Medical Director Tracey Gillies confirmed Medic One's service model is "no longer sustainable".

And she said that the changes will mean that colleagues are able to "better manage the sustained pressure on our emergency department".

Dr Gillies said: "With significant advancements in pre-hospital Emergency Medicine and the Royal Infirmary's role as a major regional trauma centre, the current Medic One service model is no longer sustainable.

"This change brings us in line with the rest of Scotland and allows our teams to better manage the sustained pressure on our Emergency Department without removing a staffing resource from the department for several hours at a time."

The general surgeon, who started working for the NHS as a doctor in 1989, added: "The Medic One Charitable Trust will continue to exist to support the development and training of Emergency Medicine staff."

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