Manifesto - Engaging with decision makers


The College is pleased to share our first manifesto, which introduces the key issues we need politicians and decision makers to be aware of and work with us on to support the profession. With general election due to be held this year, we’ve worked with colleagues and representatives, including consulting our Board and Student Council, to develop some keys asks for the next UK Government.

Our manifesto is an advocacy document predominately aimed at politicians, as well as listing key issues for the paramedic profession, it explains the roles and skills of paramedics. We have sent it to all the main political parties as part of our policy and public affairs engagement work.
You can read the full manifesto here  or in full, below. As we get closer to the general election we will share more resources with our members, including a guide to contacting your local representative and summaries of the party manifestoes. 

The manifesto is part of our ongoing policy and public affairs work with governments and stakeholders across the UK, making sure the profession is represented and our members have a strong voice, we will keep members informed and involved with our work, including our progress on the development of an All Party Parliamentary Group on Paramedicine.

College of Paramedics 
General Election Manifesto 2024

Introduction to the paramedic profession
Paramedics are registered healthcare professionals who work across a range of emergency and non-emergency situations, using judgment and skills to quickly access a patient’s condition and make life saving decisions. The profession may be most well-known for working within ambulance services providing immediate and emergency care in response to 999 calls made by the public, however paramedics also work in other areas of healthcare, including: 

- Accident and emergency departments 
- Clinical speciality – e.g. stroke
- Cruise ships
- Custody
- Education
- Expert witness
- General practice
- Leadership roles
- Same Day Emergency Care (SDEC)
- The military
- Neurosurgery
- Primary care
- Urgent care
- Public health, including frailty
- Remote and offshore sectors
- Research
- Rural and remote medicine
- Telehealth and telecare services
- Hospice, Palliative and End of life care

Since 2021, paramedics are regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and must have completed a HCPC approved programme and be educated to degree level. HCPC sets standards for professional education, training, and practice, and is responsible for taking action if a professional on the register does not meet the required standards.

- The title ‘paramedic’ is protected in law, and all paramedics must be registered with the HCPC to be able to practice.

- There are currently over 30,000 paramedics on the HCPC register, and this encompasses all paramedics, regardless of where they work.

How paramedics make a difference
Over the last decade, evolutions of the emergency ambulance service from an ‘assessment and transport’ model to a ‘see and treat’ service have resulted in the development of the paramedic profession.

- Paramedics continue to respond to a range of undifferentiated and undiagnosed patient groups in their own living environments.
- Regardless of where they work, paramedics undertake comprehensive clinical assessments, and can take the responsibility for the ongoing care provided to patients, in addition to onward referral and discharge.                                               

- Paramedics are also eligible to undertake further study to work as independent prescribers, enabling them to complete full episodes of patient care.

- The adaptability, creativity and problem-solving skills of paramedics means they are well placed to support community-based care, working in collaboration with other health professionals to provide patient care and support closer to home.

- Paramedics also have a role to play in prevention and public health, due to their unique position of providing unscheduled care in the patient’s own environment and the ability to reach populations who may not access NHS services and public health information in a traditional way.

The important role paramedics play in supporting future health needs has been recognised in the recently published NHS Long Term Workforce plan for England.

“Our assessment is that the paramedic workforce will need to increase by around 14,200 – 15,600 over 15 years, to deliver services in ambulance and other care settings, as well as creating a pipeline of staff who will go on to work as advanced practitioners.
To enable this, the Plan proposes that paramedics have more rotational training placements across hospital, community, and primary care settings.”

As the current health and social care systems are under enormous pressure, paramedics have a key role to play in ensuring patient healthcare needs are met by autonomous, well-educated, registered professionals. It is for this reason that it is vital to address the issues of recruitment and retention to ensure the profession can continue to deliver high-quality patient care.

We urge all political parties to commit to the following recommendations:

1 - Parity for paramedics across the UK
Health is a devolved matter, we call on all parties and Governments to work together to ensure the skills of paramedics are recognised and supported equally across the UK, so that paramedics can apply their full range of skills and knowledge wherever they are based to best meet patient needs.

Differences in the law on prescribing across the UK for example, mean that paramedics in Northern Ireland are not able to prescribe the same list of controlled drugs as paramedics with the same training in other parts of the UK. 

2 - Improved data sharing to aid learning and development 
Access to patient records has improved in recent years, but more needs to be done to enable paramedics to have timely access to patient data to ensure continuity of care, as well as including feedback on patient outcomes to support professional learning and development. 

Currently there is no consistent process for paramedics working in emergency care to receive feedback on patients once they have been admitted to hospital, often preventing learning from taking place. Paramedics working in all settings, including primary care and prevention should have consistent access to patient records to ensure minimal delays for patients to access care.

3 - Impactful investment in mental health and wellbeing support for frontline and high intensity clinical settings 
Paramedics are usually the first clinical healthcare professionals to reach patients experiencing medical emergencies and traumatic injuries, often within some of society's most challenging, unpredictable, and violent environments. The unprecedented rise in demand for emergency and urgent healthcare services across the year has added greater pressures upon the system even prior to the winter season. 

Working at high intensity for long periods of time has a negative impact on all healthcare staff including paramedics and ambulance personnel. Paramedics are reported as having one of the highest levels of suicide of all the healthcare professions, and one of the highest levels of sickness absence attributable to poor mental health including burnout, stress, depression, and post-traumatic stress.  

We call on decision makers to invest in long-term mental health and wellbeing support for staff in the health and care sector, especially those such as paramedics working in high stress situations, to ensure they are well supported and are able to provide quality care to patients. We therefore, call on the Government to continue to fund the vital support provided to NHS staff through the NHS staff mental health and wellbeing hubs. 


4 - Expansion of prescribing rights for paramedic independent prescribers 
Following a lengthy campaign from the College of Paramedics, the Home Office recently updated legislation to allow paramedic independent prescribers to prescribe a list of controlled drugs. The changes allow for the timely, safe, and effective supply and administration of medicines to patients. It also presents the opportunity for paramedics to support patients with de-prescribing in line with NICE guidance on medicines associated with dependence or withdrawal symptoms: safe prescribing and withdrawal management for adults.

There are currently over 2117 paramedic independent prescribers in the UK, all of whom have completed an approved prescribing programme, and who work across a variety of settings including primary care, palliative care, specialist wards and critical care.

More needs to be done to expand the ability for paramedics to prescribe a full formulary of controlled drugs to fully provide patients with the care and treatment they deserve, including an amendment to the Human Medicines Regulations to allow student paramedics the right to administer injectable medication under schedule 17 exemption to support development of practice-based learning. This will be a longer-term consultation but will require the political will for the profession to release the burden on our other health and medical colleagues within a safe and well-governed framework.


5 - The role of paramedics in hospital handover and patient flow 
The Emergency and Urgent Care system faces huge challenges, with delays in ambulance to emergency department patient handover. This has a detrimental impact on patients and the professionals who care for them. Undifferentiated patients awaiting ambulance response in the community presents the greatest patient safety risk during times of increased pressure.

The College of Paramedics works alongside our healthcare colleagues to press for change. We call on decision makers to work with us to address the challenges and support the ambulance sectors capacity to deliver a safe and effective service to those in the most need.

6 - Support investment in professional growth
In order to ensure a continuous stream of new professionals, Higher Education  Institutions (HEIs) need support with funding for undergraduate courses, and support for the recruitment and retention of paramedic educators who work in both clinical practice and education.


7 - Appropriate funding for resources to meet demand within UEC (Urgent & Emergency Care)
The College would support a full commissioning review to enable a modern provision of care to better meet the needs of the patients. Future service provision by paramedics may not always emanate from within the ambulance sector, but by a wide and diverse range of options, and a new commissioning model could provide greater benefit to patients by looking at a whole patient journey through the health and care system, rather than just a single touch point. 

With much more focus on urgent care through the 999 system, it provides a real opportunity for commissioning to be fit for the future.

8 - Support integrated community care to reduce avoidable conveyance to hospital
Paramedics work autonomously with undifferentiated and undiagnosed presentations. It is this pluripotential nature that can be used to support integrated community care and reduce further admission to hospital for patients where this is avoidable. 

It must be recognised that not all paramedics work in the ambulance sector and many paramedics have been able to specialise in clinical areas that will support the recovery of emergency and urgent care, such a frailty, end of life care, mental health, maternity, and public health.

Paramedics are uniquely placed to work in these areas, with a range of other allied health professionals, nurses, and social prescribers, to care for high-risk patients in the community who have been discharged, or to attend low-risk patients who they may be able to prevent requiring admission.

9 - Greater definition and support of Advanced Practice roles
Supporting advanced practice helps other services, such as freeing up emergency ambulances to answer the most life-threatening calls. 

Greater clarity of the scope of roles will also support the development and diversification of paramedics as healthcare professionals in their different work environments, and supports the nomenclature to be understood by not just other medics and healthcare professionals, but by patients and their relatives and carers.

About Us

The College of Paramedics is the recognised professional body for paramedics and the ambulance professions. We support the profession by providing leadership and advice to our members, and to people considering joining the ambulance professions. 

The College of Paramedics will continue to be the pinnacle of information and advice for the paramedic profession. We will continue our work with our members and colleagues to be the centre of paramedic-focused issues, including educational standards, professional standards and practice, leading research and developing guidelines for paramedic practice in any environment.

We are committed to support the development of paramedics, using the four pillars of the profession to guide our work:

- Clinical Practice
- Leadership & Management
- Education
- Research & Development

We welcome opportunities to discuss these issues further.