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NI set to get additional paramedics

12th October 2023

The Department of Health has given the go-ahead to the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service for the recruitment of 48 additional paramedics next year.

The approval will mean that the first cohort of students graduating from the BSc (Hons) Paramedic Science degree in 2024 will be able to apply for the newly created positions within NIAS.

Department of Health Permanent Secretary Peter May said: “NIAS provides a vital service right across Northern Ireland, receiving more than 600 emergency calls every day. Pressures on NIAS have increased significantly in recent years and the addition of these new paramedic roles will support the service to further develop new ways of working.

“We know that effective workforce planning is essential to the sustainability of our health service but our ability to make progress is wholly dependent on a sustained budget. The BSc (Hons) Paramedic Science degree was established to provide a local pipeline of highly qualified healthcare professionals who could take up roles in NIAS, or other parts of our health system. It’s therefore imperative that we have the necessary resource to create career opportunities within the HSC so that we can retain students graduating from Department of Health funded programmes.”

Welcoming the announcement, NIAS Chief Executive Michael Bloomfield said: “I am delighted that we will have extra 48 paramedic places with effect from September 2024. It is a welcome first step in securing the additional staff referenced in the demand/capacity review undertaken a number of years ago which identified the need for greater numbers of staff to ensure the full implementation of the NIAS Clinical Response Model.

“The news will be of particular interest to those students who are currently undertaking their final year of study for the Paramedic Science (BSc) Hons course. They now have assurance that, on completion of their course and success in the necessary NIAS recruitment process, they will have the opportunity to pursue a career in Paramedicine with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.

“The increased number of paramedics, and the skill base that they bring, will be of benefit to those most critically ill patients, whose need is immediate in life-threatening situations. Additionally they will enhance the opportunities, already utilised by our current frontline staff, to assess patients at scene and, where appropriate, consider alternative care pathways that will be of greater benefit to the patient than attendance at already busy EDs.

“I look forward to welcoming these new paramedics in 2024 and others as we build our workforce to meet the needs of our local communities.”