Student Paramedics - We are Here for You 

One of the key aims of the College of Paramedics is to provide advice to members and student members alike, and to be a source of information and guidance.

Currently, life is changing daily, even hourly and at times we know it feels like it is difficult to know where to turn to get accurate, timely advice. 

We released a statement recently providing advice and guidance to student paramedics during Covid-19, read it here

Check out our new Temporary Registered Student Paramedic support site which has been created in collaboration with University educators, Ambulance Service colleagues and other passionate and enthusiastic people around the UK.

We also now have a Student HCPC Appeals Support page

Join Now

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The majority of the questions below are as a result of the live Q&A session held on the 8th April, still available to watch here



Other questions and answers have been added below and roughly put into four categories for you, we hope that you will find them useful.

HCPC Temporary Register - Students 

You don’t. The Temporary Register for students has been populated by the HCPC from information they have been given by Universities. This register consists of student paramedics in their 3rd or final year who have completed all clinical placements and have been deemed eligible by their University. Inclusion on the temporary register does not impose any obligation to practise, so there is no need to be alarmed if your name is included on the Temporary Register and you do not wish to practice as a paramedic at this time. Student paramedics wanting their name removed from the temporary register can contact the HCPC by emailing: e-regtemp@hcpc-uk.org.

 

It is important, before deciding whether to practise via the temporary register, to fully consider the best option for your individual circumstances and whether you can confidently meet both the HCPC’s Standards of Conduct, Performance & Ethics and the Standards of Proficiency for your particular profession.
No, a final year Diploma HE or Foundation Degree student could be placed on the Temporary Register if they have completed all their clinical placements and have been deemed eligible by their University.
A really valid question. It is the responsibility of the education providers to ensure those students who are entered on to the temporary register are suitable to operate at that level, should they seek temporary employment as a paramedic. Some education providers have chosen to support students to complete their studies as early as possible and support them to obtain full registration rather than suggest temporary registration
No. The likelihood is that when you leave the temporary register or the temporary register is disbanded, you will return to your studies and still make best use of your student membership. There is no benefit, at this time, to upgrade to full membership as you will need to return to your education provider and complete your studies. Student members of the College of Paramedics have the benefit of HCPC Fitness to Practise advice and representation should they encounter any future difficulty in obtaining permanent registration, on the basis of any HCPC fitness to practise concerns raised whilst they were a student.

 

Please note - once you do join the HCPC permanent register you will need to upgrade to full membership.

 

You will still need to complete your approved programme of study and complete any outstanding final assessments and submit to the HCPC for consideration for full registration. This will be the same process as it has always been for those completing a HCPC approved programme. Our understanding is that any outstanding issues arising from temporary registration will need to be resolved at that point.
Being a respected HCPC registered professional is a privilege, but the price is the obligation to uphold the very high standards expected of regulated professionals.

 

Via the Covid-19 Temporary Register, students (and de-registered individuals) are invited to assume the burden of practising as a regulated professional, but not getting the benefit of substantive HCPC registration, including the right for any allegation against them to be properly investigated. The HCPC will not carry out a fitness to practise investigation into concerns raised or seek comments or information from any of the parties concerned with regards to temporary registered individuals. However, should anyone raise a concern about you which meets the Triage Test as explained in the HCPC Threshold Policy, the HCPC will remove you from the Temporary Register with immediate effect.

 

If a complaint is made to the HCPC about your Fitness to Practise whilst on the temporary register, and this meets the HCPC Triage test, then you would simply be removed from the Temporary Register. The HCPC have recently released a draft document ‘Statement of Approach to Fitness to Practise During Covid-19’, stating “Any concern we receive about a registrant on the COVID-19 temporary or student registers may be taken into account should that registrant apply for permanent registration with the HCPC in future”. This is something to seriously consider before you take on the role and responsibilities of a temporary registered paramedic.

As a student member of the College of Paramedics, you already have access to our specialist legal team in the event that you encounter any difficulty in obtaining permanent registration in the future, on the basis of any fitness to practise concerns whilst you were a student (terms and conditions apply).

Student HCPC Appeals Support

If you are not a member of the College of Paramedics, now is the time for you to consider the worth of that and the benefits of membership at £2.50 per month, to join today click here

 

If you need any further help, advice or guidance, we are ready to assist you. The College fully supports all its members and is happy to talk to you, one to one on the telephone or by email. membership@collegeofparamedics.co.uk or please call 07852 371197

 

 

The HCPC require registrants to have an appropriate level of Medical and Public Liability insurance cover.

 

If you will be employed by the NHS, or you are employed by an organisation who is providing services on behalf of the NHS, then you would ordinarily expect to be covered by the NHS Clinical Negligence Scheme, or by your own employer. However, cover in respect of non-claims issues, such as fitness to practise or registration matters, are not provided under the NHS Clinical Negligence scheme. Those temporary registered student paramedics who work for private providers need to check carefully the arrangement in place with their individual employer and if there is any doubt contact the College of Paramedic block policy insurance broker, Graybrook. Visit www.graybrook.co.uk/cop-members or call one of their Professional Advisors on 01245 321185 or email enquiry@graybrook.co.uk

 

Claims arising from Good Samaritan acts are included within the College of Paramedics student member benefit package.
If providing services directly for the NHS, you would ordinarily expect to be covered by the NHS Clinical Negligence Scheme. Those individuals who choose to work for private providers need to check carefully the arrangement in place with their individual employer. If the service is NOT directly for, or on behalf of the NHS, then you and your employer should liaise with your insurer to confirm any additional cover that may be required.
This is the case in general for student members. However, in support of our student colleagues facing unprecedented challenges in the context of Covid-19 we have taken the decision to remove the 12 month membership stipulation. New temporary registered student members can now access our HCPC Appeals Support without achieving 12 months of membership.

The student member must inform membership@collegeofparamedics.co.uk of their inclusion on the HCPC Temporary Register (students), they must maintain continuous student membership up until the point of full/permanent HCPC application, and the time of notification of refusal of registration.

Terms and conditions apply, more information can be found here

Scope of practice will be determined by your employing organisation; this will vary dependent on the role you are employed to do. If you join the temporary register and work as a paramedic, you will also be required to work to the standards of proficiency for paramedics published by the HCPC. In essence the same expectation of a normal paramedic who has just graduated and joined the full register.

 

If you join the temporary register but work in a non-paramedic role – you will be required to operate within the scope of practice of that role set by your employer. If you are not employed in a paramedic role, the scope of practice does not apply – however, as a student on an approved programme you should aspire to those Standards of Proficiency and you must also meet the standards of conduct performance and ethics
Student paramedics who are members of the College have the benefit of access to specialist legal advice should they have their initial application to the “Paramedic” HCPC register refused after successfully completing an HCPC approved programme of study. Any difficulty encountered on fitness to practice grounds our specialist legal team will assist in preparation of a Notice Appeal and provide legal representation at any oral hearing should it be required.

 

More information on our ‘HCPC Appeals Support’ is available from our website...https://collegeofparamedics.co.uk/COP/Members1/Student_HCPC_Appeals_Support

 

Claims arising from Good Samaritan Acts are also included. This cover only applies when students are not entitled to insurance or indemnity arrangements provided elsewhere.

 

Student paramedics who are members of the College also receive the regular Paramedic INSIGHT magazine and have access to over 150 presentations on the CPD Hub to help with ongoing learning and continual professional development.
 

 

Continuing Professional Development

 
The podcast series is available on Spotify, Google podcasts, Breaker and Radio Public. It will also be uploaded on to the College of Paramedics CPD Hub in due course.

 

Education

This will be managed by your education provider/University. The messaging around progression is that students will be supported to progress through their programme with the least possible disruption to their studies. Programme leaders are being given authority to amend programme learning outcomes or assessment as needed to ensure no student is disadvantaged by this pandemic. Some Universities are adapting the number of assessments available. Check with your University.
 
The HCPC and the College of Paramedics do NOT measure the quantity of hours. Some Education Providers/Universities attempt to define hours in practice to give a general guide on how many to undertake. In reality, the measurement of your capability matched against learning outcomes gives sufficient evidence that you meet the Standards set by the University. Even more importantly for final year students is fulfilment of the approved programme and clear mapping against the fifteen Standards of Proficiency held by the HCPC.

The NQP (Newly Qualified Paramedic) is not about hours and is unrelated to your approved course, graduation or gaining registration. This is organised and run by Ambulance Services in England and Wales. Scotland and Northern Ireland do not use NQP pathways.

One definition of “work” is “activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result”. However, this “work” cannot be easily matched against hours employed. It must be linked to your learning and matched against the learning outcomes set by your University. Whilst being employed, has a major benefit for the Covid 19 pandemic response to help the NHS, fundamentally it is just work in most cases, and not necessarily a conducive learning environment. But, in some cases it might be a useful learning environment, that needs to be a decision by your University to consider if they might be able to give you “credit” for your individual circumstances.
 
We believe this is very unlikely, as long as you maintain your studies. However, the potential negative impact on your studies is the main reason the College of Paramedics is against full time employment for students. Education providers are working very hard to ensure no significant impact or delay on completion or progression for students at any stage of any programme. We do not expect studies to be delayed any more than one semester.
 
Each cohort and year group has a student representative. Perhaps they could lead the communication and gain the answers. The University may be under exceptional pressure and some or many of the team may be unwell and so a brief period of patience and latitude may be the best option in these challenging times. You could (in exceptional circumstances) escalate this to your Student Union or to the External Examiner for your programme.

We will also feed this back to the FHEPS (Forum for Higher Education in Paramedic Science) group that the College facilitates, when we are clearer that it has not been resolved locally.

 
We believe it is unlikely for you to experience such a delay. The education providers/Universities are working hard to ensure final year students complete their studies and obtain full registration. They are also ensuring those in 1st or 2nd years of study are supported to progress through the programme without significant delay or disruption in the longer term.
 
Most Emergency Departments are closing the door to students on placements, so that may not be possible. Being paid in an Ambulance Service role, would be classed as ‘work’, and that would not necessarily be defined as a learning experience matched to learning outcomes with a qualified practice educator. This is one of the key reasons that placements were cancelled by Ambulance Services, because they could not maintain the learning environment and match you with practice educators.
 
You are a student and not a full-time employee, at best you will be on a bank contract and both parties can close that agreement as per the contract. Universities would clearly discuss that with an ambulance service to reduce the workforce plan impact. When the Universities re-open and resume normal operation, the expectation will be that you return to your full-time studies as you were doing before the pandemic. It is in your best interests and that of the healthcare system in general for you to progress to the next year or to progress to graduation and full HCPC registration.
 
If simulation is required to achieve a competency or any number of competencies, then that will be facilitated by your education provider. You still need to meet the standards of proficiency (as set out by the HCPC) and complete your approved programme, addressing the learning outcomes of that programme and successfully completing the required assessments. They will not be able to add your name to the pass list for the HCPC (for full registration), until you have successfully completed the approved programme. It is quite normal to feel anxious in these changing and unsettling times.
 
As soon as possible, education providers intend to return to business as usual for students on approved programmes. Some discussion is taking place to provide final year students with an opportunity to undertake ECA support roles on bank, subject to being ready and having completed the employer requirements for driving. This has not been agreed and still a concept. The 60/40 is simply a guide to ensure you do NOT overcommit to too much bank work and fail to keep up to your studies. It is, and will continue to be stressful time, you need down time, and time aside to look after yourself and maintain your wellbeing.
 
The HCPC do not have a set number of hours that need to be achieved. That is set at the programme level by the individual education providers/Universities. If a change to the required number of hours is required, that will be managed by your education lead.

Operating in a PTS or ECA type role, will likely not allow you to achieve the required learning outcomes in full. The benefit associated with most programmes is the supernumerary aspect of your clinical placements and the supervision from a qualified paramedic practice educator. If you are working with a paramedic practice educator, then some learning outcomes or specific competencies may well be achieved and able to be signed off. Importantly though, employment is clearly NOT a practice placement and so you may not be able to use that to achieve any or all outstanding practice placement outcomes. A flexible approach will be taken by Universities to deal with each case.

 
The taking up paid bank work for the ambulance service, is NOT a requirement to maintain your placement hours. The work is purely to support the NHS in a crisis. However, paid bank contracted work during your studies should not affect your student status for student finance as you are not leaving your studies/programme and you are not taking on full time employment. If you do take on full time employment, we believe that it may have an impact on your student finance now and going forward. Paid bank contract employment may be used towards some of your placement hours, but this will be determined by your University.
 

Employment

That will be down to the employer to decide how they might continue to employ you in a paramedic role once you achieve your full registration with the HCPC. You are NOT obliged to stay at the same employer after COVID-19 or completion of your temporary registration period.
 
The national guidance provided by the Chief Allied Health Officers, Council for Deans, HCPC and Department for Health in their joint statement (3rd April – see link below) have suggested that student paramedics on the temporary register who are being employed in a paramedic role would be paid in line with Agenda for Change (AfC) Band 5 – this is the same for newly qualified paramedics.

https://councilofdeans.org.uk/2020/04/joint-statement-on-how-we-will-support-andenable-the-student-allied-health-professional-workforce-to-respond-to-covid-19/

Each employing organisation is deploying students in a variety of roles. The national guidance (see above) includes information for a support worker role at AfC Band 3 and HCPC temporary registrant role at Band 5. The rationale was so that all AHPs and of course that includes paramedics, would not be choosing jobs on pay and it would be equitable across support roles. Some employers/Ambulance Services went live before national guidance was issued and so may have pay and roles that are not matching the CAHPOs National Statement.

It is for the employing organisations to decide on the role descriptions and pay scales (inline with national guidance and agreement with staff side representatives) for students who are deployed by ‘voluntary’ agreement during the pandemic.

 
You should carefully consider any paid bank employment against the requirements to continue with your studies and complete them successfully. You may not be given very many choices, typically 2nd years are working in PTS, 111 or in control answering calls. Third years not eligible or ready for Temporary Registers are being offered ECA or equivalent (band 3) roles by many Ambulance Services. Some services (but not all) are attempting to match ECAs with Paramedic Practice Educators.

You should have dedicated time available for study and to gain support, welfare and counselling (if required). You should NOT have to fit in your studies on your days off from full time employment. This journey will be challenging, and you should consider the long haul and the need for resilience. Please do not be pressurised into full-time work and stopping your studies. We need you safe and well to progress to the next academic year and/or progress to graduation and the full paramedic register.

 
Those critical workers who require a C1 theory and practical test will be dealt with on a case by case basis. Those who do not currently have a provisional C1 on their licence are very unlikely to be able to undertake the C1 driving test at the present time. Even with C1 Ambulance Services may not be able to offer blue light training at a local level, there is a national shortage of driving instructors available or employed by ambulance services, an exception is South Western Ambulance Service.
 
You can support in other ways – EOC/CCC/111/Logistics. Student paramedics are being utilised in Make Ready Centres, cleaning vehicles, stock checking and making sure vehicles are ready for the oncoming shift. The employing organisations are offering roles that they require to address demand and the immediate needs within their organisation, Across the UK this may look very different from each employing organisation.
 
As a temporary registrant, you may be enrolled in a process or package of support that is similar to NQP colleagues who are in full time employment. Some services have told the College of Paramedics that the NQP pathway will NOT commence until you are fully registered and in (permanent) employment with the Ambulance Service. We do NOT know if you will receive the normal preceptorship when on the temporary register and employed on your bank shifts. This will very likely differ considerably across employers

Once you complete your studies and join the full register, you might be offered and subsequently agree to take on full time employment with an Ambulance Service and we would encourage you to engage in full with the NQP process. Preceptorship and supervision in the first two years of practice is vital and valuable for your ongoing development as a registered professional. Should you subsequently request to work part time, your NQP programme will be extended beyond the 2 years, proportionate to your agreed and contracted hours.

 
This is the responsibility of the employer. Some work very closely with their education providers to ensure a smooth transition for students who have effectively been on a ‘2-3 year interview’. This is not a new thing. You should however, expect a contract of employment though, even when working bank shifts. This is to ensure you fully understand your responsibilities and contractual obligations as an employee.

It is worth reiterating that whatever you choose to do at this incredibly difficult time, you are still a student. You should endeavour to maintain studies in between employed work so that you are in the best situation to finish any assessments and apply to the permanent HCPC register as planned once the imminent threat of COVID-19 has subsided.

The College is working hard, releasing statements, engaging with stakeholders and lobbying Government to improve the level and adequacy of Personal Protective Equipment for all healthcare staff. The College is also supporting members’ wellbeing through publishing guidance and signposting to a range of online resources. Look after yourself and stay safe.

 

Further information is available on the HCPC website… 
https://www.hcpc-uk.org/covid-19/advice/advice-for-students/
  
The HCPC Covid-19 Temporary Register blog by Andrea James, Partner, Brabners 
http://insights.brabners.com/post/102g3iz/the-hcpc-covid-19-temporary-register