East Anglia: Not enough staff to fully operate extra ambulances brought in to ease pressure on service

Hand over times criticised

Hand over times criticised - Credit: Archant

A LACK of paramedics has meant none of the 15 extra ambulances that started on Monday were operating at full capacity.

The introduction of the ambulances by the East of England Ambulance Service Trust was heralded last week as a step in the right direction by the under-fire service.

The spare vehicles, which have been in storage around the region, were re-kitted and cleaned last week.

But a lack of paramedics willing to work overtime and staff the vehicles has meant that the 15 ambulances were not put in full operation.

Seven of the vehicles began work in Norfolk and north Suffolk on Monday, but ambulance bosses admitted they had not managed to get any of them fully up and running.

A spokesman for the ambulance service said: “The extra ambulances have all been delivered to their stations but we are finding it a real challenge at the moment to fill all the shifts because we are reliant on staff overtime until our new recruits are on board over the coming few weeks.

“However, we are very keen to see the vehicles all operating at capacity so are looking at all possible opportunities to make this happen as quickly as possible.”

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She said 114 emergency care assistants and 25 paramedics were due to start work at the service before the end of March.