The 999 service hired the paramedics on account of a severe skills shortage, and there’s still scope for more recruits to be taken on.

The London Ambulance Service (LAS) is facing a winter crisis due to a soaring number of 999 calls and dire staff shortages, Mayor Boris Johnson has warned. New figures show it is failing to hit emergency response times and has more than 500 vacancies, with one in seven staff leaving every year.

Senior managers at LAS interviewed 250 candidates in cities including Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne during a recruitment drive in September. The candidates that were accepted will begin a “conversion course” in London in January before joining the front line of the paramedic services. The course was devised to get the new recruits up to speed with NHS guidelines, so that they can hit the ground running and start saving lives.

LAS has offered to pay for visa applications and relocation costs.

The Christmas season is expected to call for a huge demand on services, with paramedics having dealt with more than 6,000 alcohol-related incidents last December.

Deputy Mayor Victoria Borwick accompanied paramedic Scott Mcilwaine and saw people so drunk they were unable to get home. They found a man absolutely stone cold near Centrepoint, kebab in hand – Such a shame to waste a good kebab and ruin the end of an awesome night; and such a waste of paramedics’ time too.

If you’re a paramedic then the new recruitment drive could be just the Christmas news you were wishing for. If you’re not, then you might want to follow the Deputy Mayor’s wise words: “Don’t waste their time by drinking too much and ending up slumped in the street or pub corner.”

We wish all the new LAS recruits loads of luck! And just to help them out, a merry and alcohol-related-blackout-free Christmas is on the cards for me.