A STRUGGLING ambulance service has received three applications for every student paramedic post.

The East of England Ambulance Service is attempting to improve response times by recruiting more staff and putting more ambulances on the road.

Last week a recruitment drive was launched offering 400 paid student placements on courses.

1,200 have already applied ahead of Friday's deadline.

Chief Executive, Dr Anthony Marsh, said: “I’m delighted by the huge number of people, who come from all backgrounds and sections of our communities, who want to take up this fantastic opportunity to help people, often in their greatest hour of need.

“This shows great faith in the service and what we can do to help patients.

“We know we need more staff so that we can improve the care that we provide to patients and this programme will take us a long way down that road.

"It will help us reach our goal of having a paramedic on every vehicle which will undoubtedly increase the quality of patient care.

“As someone who trained as a paramedic myself, I know what a tremendously rewarding career it can be. Be under no illusions, it is not for the faint-hearted, but the satisfaction it brings is second to none.”

The training programme takes two-and-a-half years and EEAST will then offer the successful participants full time paramedic contracts.

It will mean EEAST can place a paramedic on every ambulance.

As well as recruiting new students, the service is continuing to recruit graduate paramedics and qualified technicians and paramedics.

To apply, please visit http://www.jobs.nhs.uk