Assurances that delays on student paramedic courses won’t affect jobs

Delays in paramedic training

Delays in paramedic training - Credit: Archant

The East of England Ambulance Service has said the employability of its student paramedics will not be affected by the failure of two universities to gain required accreditation.

Students training to be paramedics were sent a letter in which they were told the University of East Anglia and Anglia Ruskin University were commissioned by the trust to provide the programme, which means they are eligible to apply for membership of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

All UK paramedics are required to register with the HCPC, which is their regulatory body.

However, the council has now ruled the courses at both institutions require more work before it will approve them – meaning teaching cannot start until January 2016 at the earliest.

The letter also said the issue would “not affect the development undertaken within the trust or your ability to work after successfully completing it”.

A spokesman for EEAST said: “The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust had hundreds of frontline vacancies at the start of 2014. This was contributing to poor response times and long ambulance delays for patients.

“The students who have been recruited have undertaken training and development through the trust over the last 12 months.

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“The trust has been working with local universities on developing a programme that is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council.

“Whilst it is disappointing that the universities have not achieved the necessary approval in the agreed time frame, we are working closely with them to ensure students are able to complete their qualification with as little delay as possible.”

It is also understood the trust will continue to work with the universities in the future despite this incident.

A spokesman from UEA, said: “UEA offers a range of high-quality health courses approved by national regulator the HCPC and already trains paramedics on a three-year degree programme.

“The HCPC requested that the university carry out some additional work on the one-year diploma for the EEAST, which is a normal part of the approval process. We are actively working with them on this and it is our ambition to begin delivery of the diploma by the end of this year.”

Dr Ruth Jackson, Dean of the Faculty of Medical Science, said: “We continue to work with the East of England Ambulance Service and the Health and Care Professions Council to secure approval of a Diploma in Paramedic Studies, which we anticipate will be delivered in early 2016.

“As is often the case during the approval process for a new course, we needed to ensure we had a curriculum of the right quality so that our future paramedics are trained to an excellent standard.

“This new Diploma is unrelated to our existing BSc (Hons) in Paramedic Science, which is fully accredited by the HCPC. Therefore none of our current students are affected by this.”