Skip to content

Hundreds more clinical staff on the frontline but not enough people from BME backgrounds

London Ambulance Service is taking ‘positive action’ after recruiting hundreds more frontline staff in the last year but not enough people from the black, minority, ethnic (BME) community.

Increasing demand is one of the biggest challenges the Service faces and last year it set out to recruit more front line staff amid a national shortage of paramedics.

Karen Broughton, Director of Transformation, Strategy and Workforce said: “We are responding to more patients than ever before. We needed more front line staff to help us respond to these patients but there is a national shortage of paramedics in the UK.”

To tackle this issue the Service increased its intake of paramedics from universities as well as recruiting from Australia and offered eligible staff from within the organisation opportunities to train to become paramedics but we need to do a lot more to  attract staff from the BME community into the organisation.

Karen said: “Our first priority was to recruit appropriately qualified staff as quickly as possible and since October 2014 we have recruited over 850 frontline staff. Not many people from a BME background are choosing paramedic science at university and we are working with Health Education England to encourage more people to consider this option.

“We’ve also increased the number of undergraduate paramedic places at our four partner universities and launched a new Education Academy to train up our own staff.”

While 20 per cent of new starters have a BME background, only 12 per cent of the Service’s workforce is from the BME community.

Karen said: “We recognise this still isn’t good enough and we are committed to changing this as soon as possible”.

As well as looking at targeted local recruitment initiatives and asking people from the BME community to consider joining the Service at entry level positions such as Trainee Emergency Ambulance Crews, Non- Emergency Transport it will be targeting them in campaigns.

Other positive action the Service is taking includes:

  • Reviewing our recruitment process to understand any blocks or challenges to BME applicants.
  • Implementing recruitment and selection training for all managers including unconscious bias awareness training.
  • Working with universities to develop a BME access programme to paramedic science degrees.
  • Addressing BME issues will be an on-going focus of the Trust Board which will also be appointing an associate non-executive director from the BME community.
  • Establish a BME talent programme for people already working in the Service to encourage career progression to a more senior level.

For more information about working for the Service and current vacancies, please visit

Notes to editors:

  • For interviews or pictures of any of our new recruits please contact the communications department on 020 7783 2286.
  • Over 11 per cent of our work force is from a BME background – which is up from 10.6 per cent the previous year. And 22 per cent of our control room staff are from a BME background. We also know that we have more BME staff joining our service than leaving.
  • 20 per cent of new starters between October 2014 and July 2016 have a BME background.
  • In March 2016, our Category A demand was the highest on record; we attended 46,966 patients with life-threatening illnesses or injuries, an increase of 7.8 per cent on the previous month.
  • We recruited 717 frontline staff last year bringing us up to our funded establishment of 3,169.
  • We recruited 355 Australian paramedics between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016
  • We recruited 119 UK paramedic graduates between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016
  • We recruited 243  emergency ambulance crews between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016
  • We recruited 137 Emergency Medical Dispatchers between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016
  • During our four recruitment trips to Australia since 2014 we have made 707 offers of employment to both graduate and qualified paramedics.
  • To view one of our short interviews with some of our Australian paramedics please visit our YouTube channel
  • For further information about the London Ambulance Service or this news release please contact the communications department on 020 7783 2286.
  • Follow us on Twitter at or visit us on Facebook at