London Ambulance Service has been granted permission to recruit overseas to help tackle the national shortage of British paramedics.
The UK Border Agency has approved the Service’s application to sponsor work visas for non-European paramedics.
It is part of a number of initiatives the Service is using to help fill vacant posts.
Director of Paramedic Education and Development, Mark Whitbread, said: “Year-on-year increases in demand and a requirement to have more registered health care professionals responding to patients means we are in need of a greater number of paramedics. The same applies for other ambulance trusts across the UK but there is only a finite number of registered British paramedics.”
While the Service is working with universities, sponsoring student paramedics and encouraging ex-military personnel to consider a career in the ambulance service, it is also looking overseas to countries such as Australia and New Zealand.
Mark said: “Paramedics are highly skilled clinicians and it can take up to three years for those entering the profession to qualify as a paramedic.
“While we are doing all we can to encourage people to consider paramedic science as a career, we are looking overseas to help bridge the gap.”
Martin Flaherty, Managing Director of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE) said: “The national shortage of paramedics is affecting all trusts and AACE is working closely with Health Education England to improve the situation. Ambulance trusts are also having to think of ever more creative ways to recruit to vacant posts.”
Once paramedics are recruited from overseas they will undergo a short conversion course enabling them to treat patients in the UK.
Mark said: “We’re working closely with our local education and training boards which are financially supporting the education and training of our staff.”
Notes to editors:
- London Ambulance Service currently has around 250 vacancies for registered paramedics.
- The Service is looking to recruit in countries such as Australia and New Zealand where the skills and training of paramedics closely match those in the UK.
- For further information about the London Ambulance Service or this news release please contact the communications department on 020 7783 2286.
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