The Scottish Ambulance Service has been hailed as the “heartbeat” of the country’s NHS, as official figures revealed a rise in staff numbers.
Statistics published on Tuesday indicate that in the last financial year, the service hired around 540 frontline staff – the highest number in a single year.
It included 414 technicians, 83 paramedics, including 58 newly qualified paramedics, along with 23 advanced practitioners and 20 ambulance care assistants.
Last year, soldiers were deployed to drive ambulances in Scotland due to the level of strain on the NHS.
Health secretary Humza Yousaf insisted that the Scottish Government is “fully committed” to ensuring that the service has the resources that it needs.
“The Scottish Ambulance Service is the heartbeat of our NHS and staff have worked incredibly hard over the last two years to meet the unprecedented pressure,” he said.
“This record recruitment is a demonstration of the action we are taking to help our health service at its time of critical need. They will be vital in enhancing the service already provided by dedicated staff.
“The Scottish Government is fully committed to ensuring the Scottish Ambulance Service has the resources and skilled staff in place to continue to deliver a high quality emergency health service.”
In the past year, the service also provided additional ambulances in five regions; Edinburgh and Lothian, Greater Glasgow, Tayside, Grampian and Clyde.
A further seven satellite stations were also established across the country.
Scottish Ambulance Service chief executive Pauline Howie said: “The last 12 months have been the busiest ever in terms of recruitment for the service and this is great news for the people of Scotland.
“With the increased demand for our services, it’s vital we introduce extra resources and staffing.
“This will ensure we continue to deliver the very best patient care by boosting capacity and increasing our resilience in communities across Scotland.
“These new staff will complement our existing staff who have done an incredible job before and throughout the pandemic.”