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East Midlands Ambulance Service feels ‘confident’ in plan to recruit more than 400 new staff

East Midlands Ambulance Service said it is ‘confident’ it can deliver on a plan to recruit more than 400 new members of frontline ambulance staff by April 2024.

The new recruits are part of EMAS’ plans to reduce response times for ‘category two’ calls.

‘Category one’ classified calls are emergencies involving people with the most serious life-threatening injuries and illnesses and ‘Category two’ is for other calls still classed as emergencies.

EMAS headquarters in Nottinghamshire
EMAS headquarters in Nottinghamshire

National targets by the NHS and government are for ambulance services to have a mean average response time for ‘category two’ calls of 30 minutes for 2023/24.

In December, the mean average response time for category two calls was 56 minutes and 19 seconds.

So far, 307 new paramedics and technicians have joined EMAS as part of the ongoing recruitment plan, which was discussed at the trust’s board meeting on January 9.

EMAS board papers show the target of 422 new staff will be met in February or early March 2024.

The ‘Category 2 response improvement plan’ includes the recruitment of over 400 clinical staff and the “implementation of new ways of working”.

Kerry Gulliver, an director of human resources and organisational development, said she was “confident” in the plan.

She said: “The target for recruitment this year was 422 staff frontline staff.

“For the first three quarters of the year (since April 1, 2023) 307 staff have started on payroll.

“We have a healthy plan for quarter four which should see us achieve that target.

“We are absolutely on plan. It is a good news story in terms of progress to date.”

Will Legge, executive director of strategy and transformation, said: “January 3 was our highest ever double crewed ambulance output that we’ve ever seen in EMAS.

“That’s not a surprise as we’ve been recruiting a lot of staff and we have a lot of private ambulance support at the moment.

“It doesn’t feel like an unprecedented event but it’s a really good news story for patients.”

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