The number of patients whose lives are at risk forced to wait more than 20 minutes for an ambulance has jumped by more than 1400 in a year – a 50 per cent increase.
The waiting-time is more than double the Scottish Ambulance Service’s eight-minute target for call-outs classed as life-threatening.
A total of 4350 of the highest-risk patients, known as category A, waited more than 20 minutes in 2015-16, up from 2891 the previous year.
The ambulance service stressed the average response time to a life-threatening emergency is about 7.5 minutes.
In Edinburgh, the number of patients facing long waits increased from 58 patients in 2014-15 to 108 in 2015-16.
Edinburgh Western MSP and Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton, whose party obtained the figures, praised the ambulance service for its “fantastic, life-saving work” but called for more support.
He said: “Ministers have been warned repeatedly by doctors that paramedics are overstretched and under-resourced.”