Paramedic shortage: Australian and New Zealand medics brought in to shore up North West 999 crews

A shortage of paramedics means Australians and New Zealanders are being drafted in to help ambulance crews in Lancashire.

Fifteen paramedics from the other side of the world will soon be responding to 999 calls in the North West as part of a new pilot scheme called the Health Education England (HEE) Ethical Migratory Pathway.

The pilot is aimed at addressing the national shortage of paramedics in the UK as their skills are sought after across other parts of the health service.

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The North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) is also looking at UK recruitment in order to boost its workforce in response to growing patient demand. In 2016, NWAS resorted to using Eastern European paramedics due to a shortage of UK-based staff.

The new recruits from Australia and New Zealand. Image: NWAS

Why are Australian and New Zealanders being recruited to help Lancashire paramedics?

NWAS Director of People, Lisa Ward said: “The North West has so much to offer and for those making the move, the job here is like no other.

"Not only is the North West one of the most vibrant places to live in, it is also one of the most challenging and varied environments you can work in as a clinician.

"We are committed to providing services that embrace diversity, and which promote equality of opportunity and we welcome our latest recruits to our green family.”

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Who else is taking part?

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Developed through HEE’s Directorate of Global Health Partnerships (DGHP), there are three UK ambulance services taking part, with around 75 paramedics joining the NHS across the UK.

Australians and New Zealanders have been chosen as their skills match with those of the UK and there is an oversupply of paramedics in their home countries.

Lisa added: “Our colleagues at London Ambulance Service have had similar initiatives to recruit paramedics from Australia and it now has a community of Australian paramedics all of whom are vital in helping care for patients. We would like this pilot to build on their successes.”

HEE has run international ethical, sustainable, and education-based migratory pathways for several years to allow nurses, doctors, and radiographers to join the NHS.

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This has paved the way for the pilot to target newly qualified paramedics from universities in Australia and New Zealand which run a paramedic practice, paramedic science and paramedicine bachelors programme like those offered by UK universities.