The head of the ambulance service says healthcare in the island needs to be made more attractive.

Head of the Isle of Man Ambulance Service Will Bellamy currently has to send paramedics away to train and worries he won’t get them back.

‘There’s a small cohort of 15 emergency care assistants and it’s only right that we try and convert them to be the next generation of paramedics here,’ he said.

‘The problem is if we’re sending them off island to train, I don’t know if I’ll get them back.

‘Some of the attractions of the Isle of Man are no longer there because it’s comparable to England and I think we just have to look at a very different unique selling point and there is a very unique selling point around island healthcare.

Manx Care is one organisation that has loads of attractive elements but we just need to develop them and I think that would be an attractive option.’

He added: ‘We have a business case to train paramedics. It’s going through its formal stages at the moment prior to moving it forward officially.’

Mr Bellamy also explained that the Isle of Man Ambulance Service has seen a rise in patients recently but says it’s not under pressure.

He said that for the ‘first year in many’ crews are busier through the winter than in the summer.

‘At the moment we’re very busy with sick people,’ he said.

‘We’ve forecasted it and scaled up, putting an additional vehicle across every day from 2pm to 2am, so we’ve stepped up for additional capacity and it’s being covered by our team.

‘We’re working at a run rate of about 50 calls a day at the moment, which is usually what we saw during the height of TT when there was an extra 40,000 odd people here.

We’ve forecasted for it and we’ve planned for it.

‘That all translates to more patients we’re seeing, more patients going to the ED, but we’ve seen our December performance standards, they’re still doing very well.’

He added: ‘There are some patients who are waiting longer and have less security.

‘I want to get my crews in front of the life-threatening patients first and that’s only right to do so.’

Mr Bellamy began in his role in the island in April last year prior to TT.

Eight months on he still feels the island is an ‘incredible place to live and work’ and has many ideas on how to develop the ambulance service.

‘I think there’s a whole host of things that we need to do in the service,’ he said.

‘We need to grow our own workforce, we need to change our clinical model so we can treat more patients at home, but that will take some time to do that while we have a large conveyance rate to the ED.

‘These are all great challenges and opportunities for us and we’re having some good conversations with our partners to see how we do that.

‘We’re being supported by Manx Care to drive that forward and we’ve had some good conversations about how we can convert our unregistered clinicians to paramedics.

‘Anything’s possible and it’s a really great and exciting time to be here.’