THE North West Ambulance Service has boosted its workforce by 450 staff during the coronavirus pandemic.
An additional 187 staff are in place to handle 999 calls across the Greater Manchester, Liverpool and Preston emergency operations centres, while 150 additional NHS 111 clinicians, health and service advisors have joined the team at the Liverpool and Greater Manchester contact centres.
Recruitment and training of new starters is continuing in NHS 111, with 142 staff expected to have joined the service by August, ready to support members of the public with urgent health concerns.
Temporary training centres were set up using empty spaces in local schools to help train the workers, which include student paramedics, apprentices, staff redeployed from other parts of the trust, and some agency workers.
NWAS has also increased the number of ambulances available by converting 80 non-emergency patient transport vehicles and adding the equipment needed to respond to emergencies.
To staff these additional vehicles, student paramedics and apprentice emergency medical technicians have become fully operational and 150 of NWAS’ patient transport service (PTS) employees have volunteered to receive additional training and work alongside emergency service clinicians to provide a safe and effective service.
Chief executive Daren Mochrie said: “Providing the right care to the people of the North West is always our number one priority and we knew from the start of the pandemic we would need to be ready for an increase in demand on our service. Expanding our workforce in this way has allowed us to continue to help those who need us.
“It was not an easy task - increasing our workforce at this pace and scale has taken a real team effort from across the organisation so thank you to all the departments who have been involved - from IT to estates, education and training, HR, transformation and programme management teams, as well as all the clinical and operational staff who have welcomed new colleagues and supported them.
“It takes courage to step up to a challenging new role at a time like this and we really do appreciate the support and input from all our new starters and volunteers.
“We have received so much support from the public and all we ask is that everyone continues to help us out by following government advice and doing your part to protect the NHS and save lives. We are here for you if you need us – dial 999 if you have a life-threatening illness or injury, such as chest pain, symptoms of a stroke or severe bleeding. If it’s not an emergency, you can visit 111 Online for urgent care advice.”
For more information about NWAS or for current vacancies, visit www.nwas.nhs.uk.