Scottish Borders Council (SBC) and NHS Borders have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Lothian 4X4 Response Group for the group to work alongside Lothian and Borders Police, Scottish Ambulance Service, mountain rescue teams, and the British Red Cross in severe weather emergencies to help those who need assistance to get to hospital, or to receive medical or social care.
Leader of SBC, Councillor David Parker said: “Members of the Lothian 4X4 Group, which is a charitable organisation, have the experience and expertise to control these vehicles when conditions can be especially tricky, and they are also fully trained in first aid. This is a great resource which is now available to us in the Borders so I am very pleased that this agreement is in place.”
SBC’s emergency planning officer Jim Fraser explained: “The agreement with the Lothian 4X4 Group enables us to supplement the existing transport arrangements that we have in place.
“During any severe weather emergency where transport becomes an issue there exists within the Scottish Borders, a multi-agency severe weather transport group, which triages the requests to ensure that the available transport is used efficiently and effectively.
“In the winter of 2010 during the heavy snow we identified that a large number of people within our communities needed access to hospital for essential treatment like dialysis and radiotherapy. SBC and NHS staff also require access to communities to provide social and medical care on a daily basis.”