The Scottish Ambulance Service is to invest £5 million this year to train an additional 200 paramedics for frontline care in Scotland.
Among them will be 50 specialist paramedics with enhanced clinical skills to allow them to work more autonomously with an extended range of medicines, offering more treatments in communities alongside GPs and other health professionals.
As part of the initiative, 60 new staff will be recruited and trained for deployment in Ambulance Control Centres.
The new paramedics will be trained from the current cohort of around 1,100 qualified ambulance technicians, supported by a recruitment drive to backfill those who are moving into the paramedic roles with over 200 new technicians.
In order to gain the higher education diploma in paramedic practice, a 12 month course must be undertaken at the Scottish Ambulance Service Academy at Glasgow Caledonian University.
Health Secretary, Shona Robison said: “Our ambulance workers provide a first class service, often under challenging circumstance and we value their dedication extremely highly. This recruitment drive will enhance the service on offer, and ensure that staff are equipped with the appropriate skills, training and clinical support to be able to deliver even more care in the community.
“Through the 2016/17 budget we are investing an additional £11.4 million in the Scottish Ambulance Service, which will assist with the recruitment and training of more staff over the next five years. This will allow the ambulance service to be better prepared to meet future needs and demands.”
Pauline Howie, Chief Executive, Scottish Ambulance Service, said:
“The continued investment in more frontline resources is fundamental to delivering our ‘Towards 2020’ strategy which aims to provide the most appropriate care to every patient, whether at home or in the hospital. This year’s recruitment plan is the first phase of a 5 year programme that will enhance the clinical skills mix of our staff and introduce new ways of working to best meet the needs of patients in all of our communities.”