More paramedics to be recruited to improve response times

Additional investment is being made available to help North East Ambulance Service improve its response times to patients.

The extra money has been approved by commissioners following the Trust’s recent Care Quality Commission inspection, where the Trust was rated as ‘Good’

The CQC inspection highlighted that paramedic staffing levels and skill mix needed reviewing in the light of the current challenges in achieving performance – a difficulty faced by ambulance trusts across the country.

As a result, additional paramedics will be recruited over the next two years to bring the paramedic workforce in NEAS from 550 to nearly 600 by Spring 2018.

This investment will see the Trust add an additional 3.5 double-crew paramedic ambulances to our establishment from October 2017 and a further 3.5 double-crew paramedic ambulances from February 2018.

Paul Liversidge, Chief Operating Officer, said: “Recruiting paramedics is a lengthy process, but we have been successful in filling our vacancies over the last 18 months through national and international recruitment and close working with universities in Sunderland and Teesside.

“In an acknowledgement of the pressures we are under, we hope that this is the beginning of a programme of investment in extra paramedic ambulances that will begin to make a difference to the quality and safety of care we can provide to patients. Together with improvement in handover delays, working together with commissioners and hospital providers, we expect to achieve national response standards for Red 1 calls (75% in eight minutes) by March 2019.”

In recent months:

  • We have welcomed 22 Qualified Paramedics and 4 Bank Paramedics supporting the front line of emergency care

  • There are approximately 70 new starters in Operations Centre

  • Patient Transport Service has taken on 12 new Bank staff

  • Almost 50 new Emergency Care Assistants are now working on board our ambulances

  • We have a cohort of 19 staff who have started as Student Paramedics in September and another 19 due to start in January

  • Recruitment for Student Paramedics in 2017 is also currently underway

  • Job adverts went out in December for even more Registered Healthcare Professionals to join our clinical hub

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