Hertfordshire ambulance pilot scheme on hold

PLANS to employ less-qualified support staff to replace clinically-trained workers in ambulances have been put on hold. The East of England Ambulance Service is awaiting the results of a national scheme before deciding whether or not to go ahead with the

PLANS to employ less-qualified support staff to replace clinically-trained crew members in ambulances have been put on hold.

The East of England Ambulance Service is now awaiting the results of a national scheme before deciding whether or not to go ahead with the changes to ambulance crews.

This means the pilot due to be rolled out in Hertfordshire next month will not go ahead as originally planned.

Gary Sanderson, spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service, said when the national scheme was completed, the trust would decide whether or not to recruit and train support staff to man ambulances.

The service was, however, recruiting a dozen support workers from the county, who will start training for non-emergency roles next month.

He said: “Ambulance support workers have been working in Hertfordshire on non-emergency vehicles for over a year.

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“This has been a great success and is helping improve the quality of service we are able to provide to the people of Hertfordshire.”

Currently, ambulances are usually manned by a paramedic and emergency technician.

The new plans propose one of these roles be filled by a member of support staff.

This will reduce staffing bills, as these workers are paid less, but it will also lessen the medical expertise on each ambulance.

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps had told the WHT last week he opposed the crew changes.

He said it would be “crazy” to introduce the pilot when vital services at the QE2 Hospital, in WGC, are being axed, meaning people will have to travel further to the Lister Hospital, in Stevenage.