Additional service resources after £20 million investment
By Lucy Ashton
If you are one of the people who has been left waiting for an ambulance, then there’s good news coming down the line from Edinburgh.
Almost 300 additional ambulance service staff are being recruited through a £20 million funding injection made over last year and this year as the NHS continues to remobilise.
The latest recruitment tranche unveiled today will see dozens of paramedics, technicians, patient transport staff and advanced professionals taken on in the North and North-east of Scotland.
Additional ambulances and low acuity resources will also be introduced as part of the new resources to help meet current and projected patient needs through the Demand and Capacity programme.
A total of 296 additional ambulance service staff are being recruited as a result of investment over the past two years.
The Scottish Government has allocated £20 million as part of the £1 billion NHS recovery plan published last week. This resource will be directed to those areas of Scotland most under pressure including northern parts of the country.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf, pictured left, said: “Our ambulance staff have been at the heart of the response to the Coronavirus pandemic and we all owe them a huge debt of gratitude for their courage, commitment and professionalism.
“These additional resources show that this Government is determined to ensure they have the support needed to meet patient demand as the NHS continues to remobilise.
“Our recent recovery plan targeted over £1 billion of investment over the next five years across the whole health system to increase capacity and ensure the health service is ready for the challenges ahead.
“Investment in support for staff and their wellbeing will be an essential and vital component of our recovery and the reduction of on-call working for ambulance staff will help with this.”
Chief Executive of the Scottish Ambulance Service Pauline Howie said: “This funding is great news for the Service and is allowing us to continue to increase our investment in new frontline staff, new ambulances and new vehicles at pace.
“These new resources will ensure we continue to deliver the very best patient care by boosting capacity and increasing our resilience in communities across Scotland. They’ll also complement our dedicated staff who have worked tirelessly over the last 18 months in extremely demanding circumstances.
“The reduction in on-call working will also improve the work/life balance of staff in the north of Scotland, as well as providing increased cover for the respective areas. Additional stations where on-call working will also be eliminated or reduced are currently being identified.”
An extra 69 frontline staff – a mixture of paramedics, newly qualified paramedics (NQPs) and technicians – along with nine patient transport service staff, will be located across the north region by April 2022.
Two double-crewed ambulances will also be introduced in Aberdeen, along with new 24/7 ambulances at Keith, Alness and Tain.
In addition, two additional low acuity resources will be stationed in Aberdeen to help with urgent GP requests. There will also be an increase in the number of advanced practitioners (APs) in Aberdeen and Inverness. APs are experienced health professionals who manages the complete clinical care for their patient.
The rest of the 296 additional staff are made up of 139 in the west region and 88 in the east region, all of whom are frontline staff.