1,000 new paramedics to be trained

Investing in the future ambulance workforce

A thousand new paramedics will be trained to work in the ambulance service over the next five years, the Scottish Government has committed today.

More paramedics will be trained to work with greater autonomy in the community, supporting local health teams to deliver better care to patients and prevent unnecessary hospital admissions.

The Scottish Government is investing £5 million in 2016/17 to deliver 200 new paramedics, who begin their training this year. These new paramedics will be recruited from the existing ambulance technician workforce and their places are being backfilled by the recruitment and training of 200 new technicians.

Minister for Public Health and Sport, Aileen Campbell, today met some of these new recruits on a visit to Glasgow Caledonian University.

Ms Campbell said:

“This Government is committed to ensuring our NHS is equipped with the resources it needs to meet the challenges of the future. We believe that investing in a professional, highly skilled ambulance workforce is the right way forward and will help deliver a better service for patients across Scotland.

“The Scottish Ambulance Service provides support to communities the length and breadth of the country – not just responding to emergencies but also helping to facilitate planned and unscheduled care.

“That is why we are committing, over the next five years, to train 1,000 new paramedics equipped with the skills and abilities to support people in their local communities.

“This will also help to build capacity within the ambulance workforce and I was delighted to today meet some of the students from this year’s intake and hear more about the training they receive.

“The close working between the Scottish Ambulance Service and the University is evident – delivering a professional, high standard of teaching to our future ambulance technicians and paramedics.

“What is clear is that while working in the ambulance service can be at times challenging, it is an extremely rewarding career and one which makes a difference to people’s lives every day.”

Pauline Howie, Chief Executive, Scottish Ambulance Service, said:

“This year we are recruiting and training over 200 new paramedics in the first phase of a 5 year plan for continued investment in frontline resources.

“Our ‘Towards 2020’ strategy aims to provide the most appropriate care to every patient, whether at home or in the hospital and in order to achieve this we will continue enhance the clinical skills of our staff and introduce new ways of working to best meet the needs of patients in all of our communities.”

Notes to editors

  • The Higher Education Diploma in Paramedic Practice is a 12 month course undertaken at the Scottish Ambulance Service Academy at Glasgow Caledonian University and includes 750 hours of practice placement as well as 5 weeks placement in hospital. The CertHE and DipHE programmes commenced in June 2011.

  • Technicians deliver high-quality pre-hospital care via the treatment and transportation of patients. Once qualified and with a minimum of one year’s service, they may be eligible for paramedic training. They can then work towards their Diploma of Higher Education in Paramedic Practice.

  • The Scottish Ambulance Service also launched a new vocational qualification course in April, where changes in entry requirements have made it more accessible for people to apply. Trainees go through six weeks training in the Academy at Glasgow Caledonian University, complete 375 hours as trainee Technicians as well as complete a portfolio and their Advanced Driver Training within 12 months. Once they have completed the Level 3 qualification, the students do another six weeks of training and the same number of hours over another 12 months to qualify as technicians.

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