North East Ambulance Service on track to recruit 100 new paramedics
North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) bosses gave an update on their performance over recent months to the Tees Valley Joint Health Scrutiny Committee.
Mark Cotton, assistant director of communications for NEAS, said one of their targets had been to increase the number of paramedics to help improve performance.
He noted they are on track to meet and surpass their target of recruiting 100 new paramedics by the end of the financial year.
He said: “We had a number of targets and achievements that we had to meet. First of all recruitment, if we’re going to get 100 new paramedics into the organisation we need to recruit them.
“It’s something that we have been able to get on top of, we now have a very good relationship with the local universities and working with them so we have that flow through of paramedics.
“At the end of this financial year we’ll actually be over-established with the number of paramedics by about five, so that’s not a bad thing to do.”
The moves comes as part of plans outlined last year for the area to have 38 extra ambulances, but 20 fewer rapid response cars and nine fewer intermediate-tier vehicles.
Bosses explained they are half way through a five-year plan which would see them receive £10.5million of additional funding over the period.
Councillors from across the North East praised the paramedic recruitment and the desire to work with universities to ensure they have the necessary skills.
Coun Lynn Hall, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council representative, said: “I’m delighted with your new recruitment and I’m even more delighted that you’re actually still developing your workforce to suit the needs of what’s needed now.”
Coun Evaline Cunningham, also a Stockton-on-Tees representative, said: “The trained paramedics, that’s a massive improvement from where it previously was.”
It came as ambulance chiefs said although they had forecast an increased demand over recent years, the actual demand has been even greater than expected.
Mr Cotton said: “We’ve seen an increase in demand on the ambulance service that has been far greater than what we actually forecast.”
He added the ambulance service would go back to remodel their estimates for expected demand and consider in comparison to the current situation.