A massive shortage of suitably qualified paramedics has creates a new wave of lucrative UK Ambulance Service jobs. Forced by the severe shortfall, UK ambulance bosses head to Poland to start recruiting. (please note, this is an older post).
A spokesman for the UK National Health Service (NHS) foundation trust said that while it was actively advertising for qualified paramedics, it was unique in the fact the Trust is the first to to set up a recruitment program in Poland.
The trust, which covers Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Hampshire, has already hired four paramedics from Poland as part of its new partnership with an international recruitment firm.
“It has been well publicised that all UK ambulance services are currently experiencing a shortage of qualified paramedics within their workforce,” he added.
The Trust is experimenting with a number of different recruitment strategies to address the lack of paramedics in their region.
These include advertising nationally for qualified paramedics as well as supporting staff who wish to develop their career as a paramedic through both traditional and fast-track degree programs with local universities.
“Recently the Trust has also developed a new specialist paramedic program, with the first team of about 20 staff already started training with a second wave scheduled to start in September 2015.
“A further strategic decision was taken by the Trust this year to expand its recruitment horizon and look beyond UK shores to attract more qualified staff to come and work in the UK.
“Following extensive research by the Trust, the decision was made to focus initially on Poland.”
Sharon Walters, director of human resources and organisational development at UK’s South Coast Ambulance Service, said that a small team had already met 30 potential paramedics in Warsaw.
“It was also a bit of an eye-opener for our HR and education team to discover what it’s like to be an operational frontline paramedic in Poland, including having to hold a BSc and work in excess of 300 hours a month.”, she said.
During the initial assessment, attendees had to undertake a driving test, a clinical scenario and a full interview in addition to the normal background checks held for any potential SCAS employee.
The tests were identical to those carried out in the UK and candidates whose English language was not of a high enough standard for work within the UK were rejected, irrespective of the quality of their clinical experience.
“Recruiting such staff ensures that more frontline ambulances are covered by qualified paramedics rather than having those vehicles, or shifts, sitting uncovered or the Trust having to utilise private providers to meet demand.”
“To put the cost versus value arguments in some sort of context”, added Ms Walters.
“If only one of the recruited paramedics remains working for SCAS for 12 months, this would more than cover the cost of three recruitment trips.”
Out of the 30 potential paramedics seen on the initial trip to Poland SCAS has shortlisted 15 suitable for further training.
A further 11 qualified paramedics from Poland are due to arrive to start a second familiarisation course this month.
The first four new Polish paramedics were at the Trust’s Nursling Ambulance Station in Southampton for a 6 week induction course.
A spokesman for the trust said that an Australian paramedic has also been hired with a further six international staff expected to join the next batch of trainees.
Further opportunities also exist for interested paramedics from Australia. Even those who have attained an Advanced Diploma in Paramedical Science should consider applying for these roles. With the demand being high for qualified paramedics and the lure of Europe within a short plane trip from London, the race is on to experience what it takes to be a UK paramedic and take advantage of the many UK Ambulance service jobs.