Paramedics play a vital role across both urgent and emergency care and are increasingly becoming employed within the primary care environment.
HEE have led a major piece of work since January 2014 stemming from the Paramedic Evidence Based Education Project (PEEP), which recommended the introduction of a single point of education entry at degree level for paramedic training. This work is being carried out in partnership with the college of paramedics and with support from the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives and we are working to ensure this becomes a four nation initiative.
The Paramedic Education and Training Steering Group was established to review the potential benefits of upskilling and training paramedics to enable them to deliver more treatment in the community, as well as better deliver on-site triage and treatment in emergencies, where clinically appropriate.
The Steering Group meets regularly and is co-chaired by Patrick Mitchell, Director of National Programmes at HEE and Professor Andy Newton, Chair of the College of Paramedics. The Steering Group has expressed its support for:
- a standardised approach to all aspects of education and training for paramedics
- an agreed standards of proficiency and standards of education and training together with the College of Paramedics curricula guidance and competency framework will be submitted for independent review to confirm the standards of education at BSc level
- a review of the College of Paramedics scope of practice and HCPC standards of proficiency
- paramedic registration to be at BSc level for new registrants through a phased approach
- education and development opportunities for the existing workforce should be considered and a transition plan formed and
- organisations to have mentoring and preceptorship arrangements in place consistent with the curricula requirement.
The initial recommendations have been agreed by the Steering Group and will now be taken forward for further engagement and the development of local delivery plans, before finally being considered by HEE’s public board.
We have also made a significant investment in paramedic training – a 87% increase in new starts to paramedic training over two years, providing for 1,902FTE growth in available supply over the next five years - and will work with ambulance leaders and wider system partners to discuss our data and agree action to ensure sufficient supply in advance of our new trainees qualifying.
Pre-degree skills and experience
As part of its work to enhance the learning environment for the student paramedic across the whole health and social care system, HEE is investing in a pilot for a pre-degree experience placement for paramedics.
The pilot will assess whether a period as an ambulance support worker can help students develop care, compassion and resilience values and skills before they embark on their degree and career as a paramedic, and are able to provide high quality care to patients of the future. If implemented the pre-degree placement could for the first time standardise how ambulance trusts recruit their ‘in-house’ trained workforce, enabling potential student paramedics to work within an ambulance trust to gain paid experience before applying for their degree.
To support the national PEEP programme’s work and the requirements of the Urgent and Emergency Care Review, HEE is providing funding to support work to further develop the advanced paramedic workforce. This work will assess whether ambulance trusts enable suitably trained, advanced level paramedics to work appropriately and effectively across a number of settings.