More than 100 extra paramedics will be available to attend 999 calls in the West Midlands by the end of the year, bosses have announced.
The region's ambulance service wants to boost the number of paramedics so more patients can be treated at the scene instead of needing to go to hospital for treatment. Currently, 115 ambulance technicians are undergoing university training courses.
They will qualify between August and November this year. Meanwhile West Midlands Ambulance Service is also recruiting a further 25 paramedics, who will start in October.
It means by March next year, 64 per cent of the service's frontline staff will be paramedics. The aim is to increase this to 70 per cent and bosses say plans for a further 70 members of staff to attend paramedic courses in 2013 will bring the service nearer to this target.
The existing ambulance technicans who are due to qualify as paramedics later this year are attending courses at universities in Worcester, Coventry and Staffordshire.
West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman Murray MacGregor said: "This will give us a frontline skill mix by March next year of around 64 per cent paramedic.
"Our strategic plan is to get to circa 70 per cent as we believe this will allow us to treat many more patients at the scene of an incident rather than take them to hospital.
"Also about 70 internal staff will start their university paramedic courses later this year or early 2013. Once they qualify we will be very near our target of 70 per cent."
He added:?"The 70 per cent skill mix will be the highest in the country. In addition we were the first trust in the country to move all of our paramedic training to universities, which is seen as best practice."