THE ambulance service which covers South Derbyshire is to spend nearly £3 million to recruit 140 new members of staff in an effort to boost the care it offers patients.
East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) provides emergency and urgent care to more than 4.8 million people across the region and is spending £2.8 million to bring in the emergency care assistants by the end of the summer.
They will support the work of paramedics and ensure the most skilled clinicians are available to respond to the most serious calls.
EMAS is investing in the changes as part of its bid to improve response times and the working lives of staff.
Phil Milligan, EMAS’ chief executive, said: “Demand is greater than ever before so we are working within the funds available to us to ensure we have the right people and resources in place to respond to calls quickly and appropriately.
“This means investing in our frontline services.
“These developments support our aim to deliver a modern, fit-for-purpose service.”
The service has also made changes to staffing in its two emergency operations centres in Lincoln and Nottingham, where on average a 999 call is received every 45 seconds.
Bosses have decided to invest in more ‘clinical assessors’ to deal with the many calls received that are not life-threatening.
In April, two additional appointments to the clinical assessment team will bring the 2013-14 staff numbers to a total of 29, compared to just 12 in 2010.
These qualified nurses or paramedics can support callers to manage their symptoms at home or point them towards the right NHS service, while also offering call backs to check how patients are doing if an ambulance is required but not under emergency conditions.
Investment in staffing is backed by EMAS’ ongoing spending of more than £1.2 million in vehicles during 2012/13.
By the end of April, EMAS will have replaced or upgraded 55 vehicles.