A student paramedic recruitment programme has been launched to help fill hundreds of frontline vacancies in the region’s ambulance service.

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The new chief executive of East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust, Dr Anthony Marsh said it was “a great step forward for staff, patients and local communities”.

Dr Marsh said: “This programme will secure new employees for the service who will learn on the job and in the classroom.

“It is a great opportunity for anyone who has ever thought of becoming a paramedic and helping people in their community, sometimes in their greatest hour of need.

“We are aiming to recruit 400 students, and while this may be an ambitious target, it means we will have a whole lot of fully qualified paramedics on the road responding to our patients in the future. This is a great step forward for our service.”

When he was appointed to the role in December, Dr Marsh, who has 26 years experience in the ambulance service, pledged to make student paramedic recruitment a priority.

But warned that it could take two years to completely turn around the fortunes of the East of England service, which has been criticised by the Care Quality Commission, MPs and patients over slow responses and poor performance.

The training programme for a student paramedic to qualify takes two and half years to complete and the service will then offer the successful participants full time paramedic contracts.

Dr Marsh added: “This is a really exciting opportunity for people who want to work with us and who want to care for patients almost straight away. We will be giving students vital hands on experience throughout the course, and offer of a job at the end of it.”

As well as recruiting new students, the service is continuing to recruit graduate paramedics and qualified technicians and paramedics.

If you are interested in becoming a student paramedic, for further information and to apply to join EEAST visit http://www.jobs.nhs.uk/

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