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More paramedics sign up

FOUR new paramedics are set to be qualified by Christmas to bring the Lerwick ambulance crew up to its full complement.

Temporary team leader Chris Rice told Wednesday’s meeting of Shetland’s community safety and resilience board that this means there will be 10 paramedics available.

There are also currently three ambulance technicians, one trainee technician and two ambulance care assistants.

A report presented to board members showed that since a new shift pattern was introduced in April, there have only been two occasions where the second ambulance had no cover.

However, the back-up plan of calling out off-duty staff was still available if they were needed.

There were also ten times where the second vehicle was single manned, but it was able to respond and be backed up.

Concerns had previously been raised about staffing levels for the second ambulance, which generally provides back-up, especially during evenings and weekends.

Councillor Allison Duncan said he was worried by the amount of overtime that had been paid in previous years for ambulance cover, but added that he was glad to see more paramedics coming on board.

The second vehicle is often used for jobs like airport transfers to leave the main ambulance free for emergencies.