Just before Christmas 2014 it was widely reported in the UK news media that some of the country’s largest ambulance trusts were attempting to recruit paramedics from Poland to help staff the service in the UK. The reports suggested that there is a shortfall of many hundreds of paramedics in the UK, and the skills and qualifications of Polish paramedics are seen to be on a par with those of UK-trained personnel. Another reason for the recruitment drive has been the considerable influx of Polish immigration into the UK, with the attendant language and communication issues that arise. Such issues, of course, are central to the Medilingua perspective.
One of the ambulance services engaged in this recruitment drive is the South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) NHS Foundation Trust ( www.southcentralambulance.nhs.uk ). SCAS covers the UK counties of Oxford, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, and Hampshire and is one of the participants recruited by Medilingua’s UK partner Europe Evaluation Company (EEC).
Following discussion with the two Polish partners in the project (Danmar and the University of Rzeszow - URZ), before Christmas 2014 EEC and Danmar arranged meetings between SCAS and URZ to explore possible recruitment of some of their paramedic trainees and also areas for future collaboration. The meeting was so successful that SCAS is due to meet again with URZ in Rzeszow in early February 2015, with a return meeting in the UK in April. In addition an SCAS/URZ partnership agreement is being developed to facilitate further research and other collaboration between the two organisations.