WORKFORCE: The troubled East of England Ambulance Service Trust is planning a significant shake up of its workforce.

Under its new five year workforce plan, the trust will boost the proportion of paramedics among frontline staff from 50 per cent to the nationally recognised minimum of 70 per cent.

Papers discussed at the trust’s May board meeting point to this “lack of resource” as “one of the key drivers” for its past poor performance. The trust had “struggled to recruit via direct entry,” the papers add.

The East of England trust is now seeking £8.8m funding for education and development from Health Education East of England for 2014-15, including £7.6m to recruit and train 400 student paramedics.

It has so far received nearly 3,000 applications and filled half of the places on the training programme.

The remaining £1.2m would go towards training 50 emergency medical technicians to become paramedics and 60 emergency care assistants to become emergency medical technicians.

Trust chief executive Anthony Marsh told HSJ that it and CCGs in the region were “working hard to secure the necessary funding and to realise improvements in urgent care systems and high quality clinical outcomes for patients.”

He added that the trust had saved an estimated £1m by ending its interim consultancy and management contracts. This saving would be reinvested into “frontline patient service delivery”, Dr Marsh said.