Scottish Ambulance Service 'accelerating' recruitment amid current pressures on the NHS

The Scottish Ambulance Service has said it will be "accelerating" recruitment of staff to boost capacity amid current pressures on the system.

A total of 356 front line paramedics, technicians and ambulance care assistants will join the service by March.

The ambulance service has been under pressure in recent months and long waits for ambulances prompted the Scottish Government to call in the help of both the Army and firefighters to drive some non-emergency vehicles.

Between October and November, 179 new staff will have joined the Scottish Ambulance Service and a further 177 will be recruited by March 2022.

More than 100 soldiers were brought in to support the Scottish Ambulance Service in September.

Scottish Ambulance Service chief executive Pauline Howie said: "We know that this is one of the most significant periods of pressure on the NHS since its inception. All parts of the system are under pressure and it's been tough out there for our staff and patients. Everyone is working so hard to help patients and our staff continue to do a fantastic job.

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"We know that there will be little let up in those pressures over the next few months so we are accelerating our efforts to increase capacity and do everything we can to support staff. These new staff coming in will be a real boost.

"We continue to prioritise those patients who are most critically ill and staff continue to go above and beyond to save lives, with survival figures for patients in our most acute response category at their highest ever level.

"It is a real testament to their ability to deliver despite the wider pressures upon the system. For those lower acuity patients who do have to wait longer for an ambulance, we are trying to get to you as quickly as we can and I'd once again thank you for your patience."

The new intake follows the recruitment and training of 210 staff over the last six months.

The Scottish Ambulance Service said new figures show there has been a rise in 30-day survival for patients within its most seriously ill response category, with latest data showing the number of people surviving is at its highest ever level.

It said that from January to May 2021, the 30-day survival data steadily rose month on month to a high of 50.4% of people in this category.

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