Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting WO to 80360, or email us
East of England Ambulance Service staff increase for 999 calls
The ambulance service which covers Hertfordshire is recruiting an extra 199 members of staff to help cover an increase in 999 calls.
The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) is in the process of recruiting new paramedics and emergency care assistants (ECAs).
So far this year the Trust has recruited 115 ECAs but still needs to find another 51 paramedics. The numbers are in addition to the 139 ECAS recruited last year.
Adverts will be going into national paramedic journals today and a graduate recruitment open day is planned for February 11 in Cambridgeshire.
The ambulance trust has been criticised by its own staff, as well as colleagues in the police and fire services this month.
Paramedics contacted the Watford Observer, claiming the ambulance service was "in a state of collapse".
Firefighters and police officers then complained of long waits for ambulances at car crashes.
In early January the Watford Observer reported how the East of England Ambulance NHS Trust is facing a £50million cut over five years, while logging an extra 20 per cent of 999 calls during 2012.
The waiting times for ambulances rocketed during last year, with an increase in people waiting more than half an hour from 37 in December 2011, to 376 in November 2012.
This latest recruitment drive is part of the trust’s plans to improve patient care.
Other measures include new rotas based on local demand, and more communication with hospitals to reduce patient handover delays.
Andrew Morgan, EEAST interim chief executive officer, said: "Having more than 200 new frontline staff on board is a big boost for the ambulance service and the communities it serves.
"These extra crew members will, in conjunction with the raft of measures we have planned, mean we can really start to improve the service and care we give to patients."
With life-threatening emergencies making up only a fifth of 999 ambulance calls, the trust is swelling the ranks with ECAs who can attend lower priority incidents.
The means more paramedics will be available for the patients who need them.