Early interventions help unwell customers and cut delays

Last updated: Thursday, 8 October 2020

Delays to trains where a customer has taken ill and needs urgent medical treatment have been cut by 37% due to a new partnership between the ScotRail Alliance and the Scottish Ambulance Service.

Now, when the ScotRail Alliance’s Integrated Control team is advised that a customer on-board needs medical help, the train travels to the point where the nearest ambulance is located, rather than the ambulance having to travel to the station closest to the point where the customer first took ill.

Due to these changes, help is reaching the ill customer more quickly and delays to train services have reduced by 37%. When working to the previous model, it wasn’t just the train with the sick customer on-board that was impacted but also others on the same route as they could be delayed while ambulance crews attended at the incident.

In July 2017 delays per incident in Scotland (when other services are impacted by incidents on the network) were the lowest in the UK. As the Scottish rail network is shared by the ScotRail Alliance and other rail operators, a joined-up approach for cross-border and freight trains means everyone is working to the same priority.

This improved performance comes at a time of improved performance across Scotland. Between 3 and 5 July, 96 per cent of ScotRail Alliance trains ran on time.

The ScotRail Alliance’s Head of Integrated Control Mark Ilderton said: “Our priority is always delivering the best service for our customers, which includes getting help quickly for anyone who has taken ill.

“We listen to customer feedback to improve our customer service, and this new partnership with the Scottish Ambulance Service is just one of several we have in place as we work towards delivering the best railway that Scotland has ever had.”

Scottish Ambulance Service National Operations Director, Paul Basset, said: “Our priority is delivering the highest possible level of patient-centred care, and that is why we are working in partnership with ScotRail to improve the process for managing incidents where patients become unwell on trains.”