Peterborough could see a 10 per cent rise in front-line ambulance staff as part of a huge recruitment drive to counter an “unprecedented increase” in 999 calls.
The East of England Ambulance Service is seeking 600 new personnel to tackle what it calls a “disproportionate shift” in the number of seriously ill patients needing help.
The service was called 132,273 times in Cambridgeshire last year, compared to 116,114 in 2013.
The service says it is seeking to relieve some of the pressure on existing staff. It currently has 200 front-line personnel in Peterborough (out of 2,600 across the region) with another 20 expected to be based in and around the area after the recruitment push.
Chief executive Robert Morton said: “These plans will benefit patients, staff and the public. We will have more clinical staff able to respond to patients in the community and offer our existing staff more opportunities to develop their careers within the ambulance service.
“And of course it will bring new employment and career opportunities to people in the East of England.”
The service is seeking 100 graduate and 200 student paramedics, as well as 150 intermediate practitioners who will deliver care to patients and respond to 999 calls.
Existing paramedics and ambulance care assistants will also be ‘upskilled’ to new roles.
Last week, Peterborough City Hospital said it was seeing an “unprecedented demand” in A&E which was in part due to “an increased number of ambulances.”
A spokesman for the ambulance service said pressures it was facing were being mirrored nationally. He added that staff are directly funded by the 19 regional Clinical Commissioning Groups.