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13 July 2016, 11:22
One thousand new paramedics are to be trained to work in the ambulance service over the next five years.
The first 200 paramedics, recruited from the current ambulance technician workforce, will begin their training this year, backed by £5 million of Scottish Government funding.
They will be replaced by the recruitment and training of 200 new technicians.
Technicians - who provide pre-hospital care though the treatment and transportation of patients - are eligible for paramedic training after one year of service.
Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell said: ''This Government is committed to ensuring our NHS is equipped with the resources it needs to meet the challenges of the future.
''We believe that investing in a professional, highly-skilled ambulance workforce is the right way forward and will help deliver a better service for patients across Scotland.
''The Scottish Ambulance Service provides support to communities the length and breadth of the country - not just responding to emergencies but also helping to facilitate planned and unscheduled care.
''That is why we are committing, over the next five years, to train 1,000 new paramedics equipped with the skills and abilities to support people in their local communities.''
Pauline Howie, chief executive of the Scottish Ambulance Service, said: ''This year we are recruiting and training over 200 new paramedics in the first phase of a five-year plan for continued investment in front line resources.
''Our 'Towards 2020' strategy aims to provide the most appropriate care to every patient, whether at home or in the hospital, and in order to achieve this we will continue to enhance the clinical skills of our staff and introduce new ways of working to best meet the needs of patients in all of our communities.''