Ambulances manned by students

FEARS for patient care are being raised after it was revealed that frontline ambulances are being manned by students.

Rebecca Lefort

FEARS for patient care are being raised after it was revealed that frontline ambulances are being manned by students.

The East of England Ambulance service asked seven student paramedics, who have not completed their training, to work over the last weekend because of staff pressures.

One of the students worked in west Suffolk while the others relieved the under-pressure service in Cambridgeshire.


You may also want to watch:


Ambulances normally have either two paramedics on board, or a paramedic and ambulance support worker, so all the students worked alongside a fully-trained paramedic.

A whistle-blowing staff member, who contacted the EADT with concerns about the move, said: “The normal training period before patient contact is allowed is three weeks of advanced emergency driving followed by nine weeks clinical training.

Most Read

“These students are being placed on the road to deal with emergency situations after completing the driver training and only 50 per cent of their clinical training.

“The potential implications for safety and patient care are obvious.”

The ambulance service said it could not rule out using the students again if it faced similar staffing issues.

But Neil Storey, associate director of operations, added: “We are totally satisfied that our decision to employ these students on frontline ambulance duties alongside experienced members of staff was completely safe.

“In fact, by using them we were able to send out more resources to meet the demands of the public.”

The trust, which covers Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, said it was working to tackle staffing problems and had recruited and trained 480 new staff in the last year, including 143 paramedics.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus