A PATIENT suffering a seizure outside Holyrood had to wait an hour and 42 minutes for an ambulance, it has emerged.
Health campaigners slammed the response as unacceptable while ambulance bosses apologised and blamed a surge in “life-threatening” 999 calls.
Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said: “This clearly isn’t good enough for the patient involved, and people will be stunned to see a response take this long.
“It’s clear the Scottish Ambulance Service isn’t being well enough resourced to cope with the level of demand it’s experiencing.
“That’s not fair on patients who may need an ambulance, and it’s not fair on the paramedics who are already under tremendous pressure.”
Paramedics were called at 2pm on Tuesday after the woman, aged in her 20s, collapsed in front of shocked onlookers outside the Scottish Government building.
Yet it took until 3.42pm for a crew to arrive and take the patient to hospital - in the meantime she is believed to have been cared for by passers-by.
Scottish Ambulance Service have a target response for Category A - potentially life threatening incidents - of eight minutes.
The service scrapped targets for non life-threatening calls - such as Tuesday’s incident - in November.
Honorary chair of Scottish Patients Association, Margaret Watt, blamed a lack of emergency rooms at hospital causing a knock-on effect.
“I’ve been there this year and seen what happens,” she said. “People who are admitted lie there on trolleys.
“They have to wait for a cubicle to become free in emergency and until one’s free, ambulance staff have to wait in a big queue.
“They can’t leave the patient the receptionist signs them and they get a cubicle - there can be 10 to 12 in a queue which obviously holds up 12 ambulances.”
Ms Watt said she had to wait on a trolley in A&E earlier this year for an hour and 54 minutes while a paramedic waited with her.
A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We received a call from Police Scotland to attend a non-immediately life threatening incident in the Holyrood area.
“At the time of this call, we were experiencing an extremely high level of demand with local crews attending to patients with immediately life threatening conditions and unfortunately we were unable to respond as quickly as normal.
“One female patient in her twenties was safely transferred to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, but we’d like to sincerely apologise for the delay in arriving on scene on this occasion.”