College of Paramedics General Election Resources

24/05/2024

Following the recent announcement of the General Election 2024 – which will take place on the 4th of July. We’ve prepared a selection of useful information and links.

On 4 July polling stations will be open between 07:00 and 22:00 

If you have registered, you can vote…
• In person at a polling station 
• Apply for a postal vote (deadline is 17:00 Wednesday 19 June)
• Or you can nominate a proxy, someone to vote on your behalf. You and your proxy must both be registered to vote (deadline 17:00 Wednesday 26 June)

If you are working a shift on 4 July don’t forget you can apply for a postal vote https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/voter/apply-vote-post

The College of Paramedics published our manifesto back in February, with 9 keys issues we are engaging with politicians on.

Coming soon – we’ll be sharing summaries and analysis of political party manifestos

Please get in in touch if you need more information or have further suggestions 
Mandy Powell, Policy & Public Affairs
mandy.powell@collegeofparamedics.co.uk

Some useful links

• Register to vote https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
• Find your MP https://members.parliament.uk/FindYourMP
• Since May 2023, voters have to show a valid form of photo ID at polling stations to vote in person at a general election. Click here for the list of acceptable forms of ID - https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/voting-and-elections/voter-id/accepted-forms-photo-id

Results of the 2024 College Elections

16/05/2024

The College of Paramedics is excited to announce our new Trustees and member representatives. 

Benjamin Haselwood as our next Trustee (Education),  

Jonathan Davies as Trustee (Membership),  

Ed Harry as Trustee (Research)  

Jaqualine Lindridge as Trustee (Professional Standards),  

Keith Dorrington as Wales Member Representative and  

Kevin Cowan as Eastern Member Representative.   

Giles Adams will continue in the role of Honorary Treasurer

and Samantha Barry will continue in the South East

In the 2024 Elections, there were 19 really strong candidates who stood across the five trustee positions, and four for the three Paramedic Council seats. We are extremely grateful to all of them for their participation and the commitment they have shown the College. The CES report of voting can be viewed here.
Our trustees are legally responsible for the College as a charity, they have an oversight role and seek assurance from the Chief Executive that the organisation is legally and financially sound and complying with its charitable purpose, outlined in the College charitable objects within the Articles of Association.
The Paramedic Council is part of the College governance structure and helps to steer and shape the College’s ongoing work and future aspirations by providing a platform for representatives to advocate for their members, ensuring a strong and articulate voice in all that the College does, and by providing a clear and vital communication channel between the College and members.
As you will be aware, four members of the Board of Trustees will be coming to the end of their tenure at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in May 2024, all of whom have been invaluable in their roles as members of the Board as well as their support for various workstreams within the College.
Vince Clarke, outgoing Trustee (Education), has provided years of support to the education directorate, ensuring that the structure has evolved with the growing workload has enabled governance and quality assurance to remain at the core. He has provided an invaluable contribution of time, knowledge and skills, including his work on the Practice Educator Handbook, which is central to the continued pursuance of quality and consistency of education for our paramedic learners.
Georgette Eaton, outgoing Trustee (Research), has made substantial contributions to enhancing the research landscape within the paramedic community. She has effectively championed the integration of research into clinical practice and advocated for increased visibility of research activities in the College. She will leave behind a strengthened foundation for ongoing research and innovation in the professional body.
Richard Webber, outgoing Trustee (Membership and Communication), has constantly shown his commitment and readiness to help fulfil the College’s media. Despite the demands of a busy day job and the immediacy dictated to by the press, he always made time for media requests and proved to be an excellent and trusted communicator. The College believes that Richard, together with the other media spokespeople, has helped raise the profile of the College to the public and stakeholders alike and made a valuable contribution towards increasing awareness about the issues facing the profession today. 
Rory O’Connor, outgoing Chair of Council, has worked hard to embed the newly developed Paramedic Council into the governance of the College since 2021. He has been supportive of his fellow Council members and represented them and the members with the Board of Trustees. Rory has ensured that he asked important questions of the Chief Executive, Tracy Nicholls and her team, while always acknowledging their hard work and the challenges they face.
After careful consideration, Fauziya Lakhi decided to step down a few months earlier than the end of her first term as Trustee (Professional Standards), due to increased commitments outside of the role. This is an important, though difficult, decision for any trustee to make and we have expressed our thanks to Fauziya, both for her time and dedication to the role, as well as for being clear when she was unable to continue.

 

UK 5-year action plan for antimicrobial resistance 2024 to 2029

08/05/2024

Today the government has announced an ambitious five-year plan to combat the increase in antimicrobial resistance. The College strongly supports this position and firmly believes that paramedics have an important part to play in the strategy including;
- Prevention of infection through good infection prevention and control measures.
- Optimising use of antimicrobials agents, either through the appropriate use of those antimicrobials available on Patient Group Directions  (PGDs) or by ensuring appropriate prescribing by paramedic independent prescribers.

Further information is available here - UK 5-year action plan for antimicrobial resistance 2024 to 2029 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

For any further support or information required on this matter, please contact the College here - enquiries@collegeofparamedics.co.uk 

 

Student Paramedic Practice Placement Wellbeing Survey

29/04/2024

The crucial issue of mental health and wellbeing of healthcare staff is of national priority (NHS England, 2021), with healthcare workers experiencing mental health issues at a higher rate than the general population. Stress, anxiety, depression, and burnout are all common due to factors like workload, exposure to trauma, and shift work. For ambulance services this has arguably never been more relevant with ambulance clinicians being more likely than other emergency services personnel to experience poor wellbeing and mental health challenges (Mind 2019) and are at an increased risk of death by suicide (AACE 2021). Student paramedic placements are a crucial part of the journey to becoming a qualified paramedic however, they can also be demanding and stressful. Contributing factors include repeated exposure to traumatic and emotionally laborious incidents, shift work and operational pressures (Hong & Pelzer 2017) with pre-registration and newly qualified staff being identified as significant risk groups. Studies have shown that there is a high prevalence of anxiety, depression and PTSD among paramedic students (Fjeldheim, et al., 2014 and McKinnon et al., 2021) and that practice placement is likely to subject students to increased sources of stress (Deasy, et al., 2014).

NHS England (previously Health Education England) commissioned the College of Paramedics to undertake the ‘Future Workforce Mental Health Project’ in response to the ongoing psychological risks to those entering the ambulance profession. Academic leads Emma Geis and Katie Pavoni have been working on multiple interventions as part of this project including new curriculum guidance on personal mental health and wellbeing in pre-registration paramedic training and the development of a wellbeing and recovery support tool. The aim of the project is to ensure that mental health and wellbeing is integrated into the entire student educational journey and to create a network of support throughout the undergraduate period and into the workforce.

As part of the project a literature review was undertaken to determine the kind of information available in publications internationally about the mental health and wellbeing of undergraduate pre-registration paramedic students during practice placements. A scoping review was completed to systematically map the research done around student paramedic practice placement experience and to identify existing gaps in knowledge in this area. 

Results of this scoping review have highlighted several themes in the literature that were relevant to the mental health and wellbeing of undergraduate pre-registration paramedic students during practice placements. The themes identified included the quality of the wellbeing support and preparation for paramedic student ambulance-based practice placement, the culture and environment of the placement provider and work-related stress and its impact on student paramedic mental health and wellbeing.

Following on from the literature review a survey was developed to explore the student experience of clinical placements and to assess the impact placements might have on student health and wellbeing. We would also like to explore current support mechanisms available and whether these are being accessed by students. 

We are asking all undergraduate pre-registration paramedic students, studying in the United Kingdom, to take part in this survey which will discuss their mental health and wellbeing during practice placement and the support mechanisms that are accessible and accessed by students. This survey is open to all paramedic students currently enrolled on an undergraduate programme and students accessing the apprenticeship paramedic student pathway. The survey should be completed by students who are currently on or have recently completed a practice placement.
The information from the scoping review and the student placement survey will further inform the ‘Future Workforce Mental Health Project’ around the specific mental health challenges faced by paramedic students during practice placement and offer further insight into the guidance and support that can be provided both during the course and into the workplace.

If you are a student paramedic who is currently on or recently finished placement, we would love to hear from you. Please follow the link to complete the Student Paramedic Practice Placement Wellbeing Survey.

For further information please follow the link:
https://qfreeaccountssjc1.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9Sva0cw2PiDEKkm

 
 

College of Paramedics Response - Consultation on the professional standards authority's good practice guidance documents in support of regulatory reform

24/04/2024


Our response to the consultation on the professional standards authority's good practice guidance documents in support of regulatory reform can be found here.  

 

College of Paramedics response Separate pay spine for nursing UK Government consultation

15/04/2024

We had a great response to our recent survey asking members what they thought of the UK Government’s consultation on a separate pay spine for nurses. Over a thousand members responded, with over 200 sharing extra information on their experience of Agenda for Change, and thoughts about a separate pay band. 

Chief Executive Tracy Nicholls said
“ I want to thank members for engaging with us and taking the time to complete our survey, some key topics stood out, including concerns about how a separate pay spine for one profession could have unintended consequences for other health professionals. The College is drafting a response to the consultation, and we will make sure your concerns and suggestions are included.” 

Our consultation response can be found here

 

Research Conference 2024

21/03/2024

Set to ignite sparks of innovation we are really looking forward to delivering our College of Paramedics Research Conference 2024, which will be taking place on Tuesday, May 21st, at the Leonardo Hotel, Hinckley Island, Leicester. At the forefront of paramedic research this stimulating event precedes our National Conference, offering a double dose of insight and inspiration under one roof.

Join us as we dive deep into the dynamic realm of paramedic research, spotlighting groundbreaking studies that are reshaping the landscape of unscheduled urgent and emergency care across the UK. From cutting-edge advancements to practical applications, discover how research is driving excellence in emergency medical services across various clinical settings.

Gain first hand insights into the challenges and triumphs encountered by UK paramedics and explore how research directly impacts paramedic practice nationwide. Connect with leading experts, researchers, and peers to forge valuable connections, exchange ideas, and collaborate on projects that will propel your professional growth forward.

Prepare to be inspired by our lineup of influential keynote speakers, each offering unique perspectives and invaluable contributions to the field of paramedic research. Plus, don't miss the exhilarating Dragon's Den-style research proposal event, where your ideas will face critique, challenges, and questions from a multidisciplinary expert panel—a blend of fun and learning unlike any other!

As we unite to collaborate for change, seize the opportunity to be at the forefront of the research movement driving current and future developments in paramedicine. Together, let's address challenges, drive innovation, and ultimately, improve patient outcomes.

Secure your spot now to access the full conference programme, lunch and refreshments are included, and you’ll receive a certificate of attendance. Members of the College of Paramedics can join us for just £55, while non-members are only £75.

Don't miss your chance to be part of this transformative event—register today and join us in shaping the future of paramedic practice! Book now here!

Enhanced Level Practice for Paramedics Schema

29/02/2024

The College of Paramedics has been a key partner in the development of the Enhanced Level Practice for paramedics schema, having welcomed the opportunity to work collaboratively with colleagues from NHS England and Sheffield Hallam University to shape post-registration education opportunities for paramedics.
Key members of the college have informed specific areas relating to their expertise; we welcome this clear articulation of the Enhanced Level Practice requirements and are delighted to have been able to capture a progression route for those paramedics that wish to remain in generalist practice.

There will be increasing opportunities for enhanced level paramedics to work across the health and care economy in roles that span the four pillars of practice as we head into the future. This work gives the opportunity to avoid unnecessary and unwarranted variation, thus creating reliable transferability for employers and enhanced level paramedics alike.

More info can be found on the NHSE website.

College of Paramedics Granted Royal Charter

22/02/2024

The College of Paramedics is thrilled to announce that we have been granted the Charter of Incorporation by His Majesty King Charles III.

The Royal Charter was granted to the College in recognition of its objectives to inspire and enable all paramedics to participate in the profession within an environment based on safety, collegiality, inclusiveness, mental and physical wellbeing and innovation.

The issue of the Royal Charter represents an important milestone in the development of the College of Paramedics, provides recognition for the profession, gives strength to our professional voice and leadership and offers our members a moment of immense pride. It also cements the College in perpetuity, meaning that there will always be a College of Paramedics for the future, supporting and guiding the profession forevermore.

Chief Executive of the College of Paramedics, Tracy Nicholls said:
“I am delighted we have been able to achieve this on behalf of our members, and to strengthen the College for the future. Gaining the Royal Charter is the first step towards being granted the title ‘Royal’ but our journey to increase leadership and development across our profession has a solid foundation for future chartered titles and more scope for development of paramedics.”

President of the College of Paramedics, Jon Price said:
“I am extremely proud that the College of Paramedics has received this level of recognition, and this represents a monumental effort from a large number of people who have tirelessly worked with the College since its inception to get us to this point.
“The College has been recognised as a well-run charity whose purpose brings value, not only to its members but the nation as a whole. It is also recognition for every paramedic in the UK and beyond, in whatever professional setting you work, that your contribution to the profession is absolutely acknowledged and valued.”


The College of Paramedics began life as the British Paramedic Association on December 14, 2001, when it was established as the professional body for paramedics in the UK. Three years later, the organisation rebranded itself the College of Paramedics and within 15 years of its inception, the College had 10,000 members. This figure has continued to grow over the years and today stands at more than 20,000 members.

Since its early days, the College has been instrumental in developing the paramedic profession and was responsible for writing the first standards of proficiency for paramedics in 2004, introducing the British Paramedic Journal, presenting the first paramedic curriculum framework in 2006, raising the threshold for entry to the Health and Care Professions Council’s register to degree status and achieving independent prescribing for paramedics. More recently, thanks to the College’s work with Public Health England and NHS England Public Health Commissioning and Operations, it was announced in September 2023 that primary care paramedics would be able to undertake the training required to become sample takers in the NHS Cervical Screening Programme.

Several of these achievements occurred under the presidency of Dr John Martin, who has been a member of the College since 2004 and was president between 2017 and 2023, and who has been invaluable in guiding the College on its path to Royal Charter status.

Dr John Martin, currently Chief Executive of South Western Ambulance Service, on secondment from his role as Chief Paramedic and Quality Officer and Deputy Chief Executive at London Ambulance Service said:
“This is a fantastic acknowledgment that paramedics have become a key part of society delivering as a trusted profession to patients. The recognition through a Royal Charter confirms this and means the College of Paramedics will now be in place to support ongoing development for generations to come. It’s excellent news!”

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Royal Charter?
A Royal Charter is an instrument of incorporation, granted by The King, which confers independent legal personality on an organisation and defines its objectives, constitution and powers to govern its own affairs. The terms of each Charter are therefore somewhat different, depending on the individual requirements of the type of organisation that is being incorporated. 

Where are we on our journey? 
At the Privy Council meeting held on Wednesday 21st February 2024, His Majesty The King approved an Order formally granting a Charter of Incorporation to the College of Paramedics.   

The Charter will not come into legal effect until the Great Seal is affixed to the vellum copy by the Crown Office at the House of Lords.   

What effect does a Charter of Incorporation have on a professional body? 
Incorporation by Charter is a prestigious way of acquiring legal personality and reflects the high status of that body. The authority for the grant of a Charter comes from the Royal Prerogative, that is to say, the grant is made by the Sovereign (on the advice of the Privy Council). 

An institution incorporated by Charter is, subject to the general law, generally self-regulating and not answerable to the Privy Council or the Privy Council Office in relation to the conduct of its internal affairs. The role of the Privy Council Office only extends to dealing with applications for new Charters and amendments to existing ones. In both cases, the work is instigated by the applicant or the Chartered body itself. 

What is the history of incorporation by Charter?  
Before the 19th century, the grant of a Charter of Incorporation was the principal method of creating separate legal personalities. By this means, universities, colleges, schools, municipalities, guilds and livery companies, a wide range of benevolent institutions and, with the development of trade, a growing number of joint stock companies were incorporated over a long period. Various criteria were applied over the years to such grants. When legislation was introduced in the 19th century facilitating the incorporation of commercial enterprises, and with the advent of charities legislation, the occasion for incorporation by the grant of a Charter became much reduced, and the grant of a Charter came to be seen more as a special token of Royal favour or as a mark of distinction. 

As such, it came to be limited to bodies pre-eminent in their field and satisfying certain criteria, which varied according to the category in which the applicant fell, and since the 1950s one of these criteria has been that the petitioner shall exist not solely to advance the interests of its members but also, and primarily, to advance the public interest. 

Does having a Royal Charter entitle an organisation to use the title ‘Royal’?
No. A Charter does not confer on an organisation the right to use Royal names and titles, including the title ‘Royal’. 

Applications for the use of the title ‘Royal’ in a company or business name are considered by the Royal Names Team of the Constitution Group of the Cabinet Office.

Some Chartered organisations have, separately, applied for and been granted permission to use ‘Royal’ in their title, in addition to receiving a Charter. 

What does this mean to me as a member? 
The receipt of Chartership solidifies the College’s reputation as the recognised authority within Paramedicine. As a member, this recognition gives a greater weight to your collective voice in shaping your profession through the College. 

- Benefits of achieving Royal College status include:  

- Recognition of professional expertise 

- Increased public confidence and awareness 

- Strengthen the organisation 

- Creates aspiration 

Why do some individuals call themselves ‘Chartered’? 
Chartered is used to indicate that someone, such as an accountant or a surveyor, has formally qualified in their profession. Chartered status originates from royal charters issued to professional bodies in the UK by the British Monarch. There is much work to do for the College in this area, will provide updates as we progress. 

What are the next stages?  
The terms of the Charter will not come into legal effect until the Great Seal is affixed to the vellum copy by the Crown Office at the House of Lords. We have been advised that this will be at least a couple of months. The Vellum copy of the Carter will be produced, we will formally approve this, which will then be printed. 

Once printed the vellum will be taken to the Crown Office at the House of Lords for sealing with the Great Seal. Once the Great Seal has been affixed to the vellum copy, the Crown office will contact the College to arrange for collection.

Carl Smith's Experience at the Diploma in Immediate Medical Care Exam

21/02/2024

Carl Smith, head of clinical development for emergency and critical care here at the College, recently returned from a week in Scotland, where he had the privilege of supporting the Diploma in Immediate Medical Care exam at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

Carl shares his experience;

"Witnessing College of Paramedics members willingly subject themselves to scrutiny by sitting this exam for the sake of improving their skills to be able to deliver optimal patient care was truly inspiring. Having personally taken the exam, I fully appreciate the pressure they faced. For those thinking about sitting the exam, with a disciplined and structured revision plan, any Paramedic can pass it.

In my capacity as a current examiner for the Diploma in Immediate Medical Care exam, I was invited to sit the newly developed Major Incident Management exam that has been in development for the past two years. I accepted the opportunity and sat the exam as a test of concept which was examined over a day. Recognising that many College members may be interested in taking this exam, I wanted to share my experience with you.

Although I wasn't completely prepared, drawing from years of experience operating at both Operational and Tactical level within the Ambulance Service provided a solid foundation. A study guide is available, and my recommendation is to plan well in advance and dedicate time to thoroughly cover the full syllabus. The exam encompasses a broad spectrum, including emergency preparedness, scene management and mass casualty triage, among other topics. The exam is geared more towards Tactical level and those wanting to progress to Strategic Commanders than those who respond as the first responder. The exam consists of 180 single best answer questions. Although challenging, sufficient time is provided to work through them, with no negative marking, allowing participants to answer every question.

Credit goes to the college for maintaining a rigorous exam environment with no exception for those who were current examiners for the college. The process closely mirrored a proper exam, which can be demanding when your colleagues are the ones examining you. Following the written part of the exam, there are 12 structured oral stations. Participants have two minutes to review scenarios, such as a plane crash and the capacity they are responding in, before answering specific questions posed by examiners. Each scenario challenges your overall knowledge of incident management, presenting various situations such as taking over from an existing commander or addressing different phases of an incident, such as being the first on the scene or discussing the recovery phase.

It's crucial to have a solid understanding of the JESIP principles and to revise recent and past reports from inquiries, such as those from the Manchester Arena Inquiry. For more information on the Diploma in Major Incident Management, you can follow the link below."

You can find out more about the Diploma in Major Incident Management here: Diploma in Major Incident Management - The Faculty of Pre-Hospital Care (rcsed.ac.uk)

 

Statement from our Chief Executive

15/02/2024

Today sees the release of the independent review following the – ‘Listening to Workers: A Speak Up Review of Ambulance Trusts in England’. 
 
The College of Paramedics was interviewed as part of the stakeholder process and we are pleased to see that the report has now been published.
 
Tracy Nicholls, Chief Executive of the College of Paramedics said:

“The College welcomes the publication of the independent review and is pleased to see that a number of cultural issues have been addressed within it, acknowledging that work is being undertaken already to improve the culture within the sector.  Our members have raised all of these points with us and I am sure that it will give some reassurance that significant issues have been appropriately highlighted.

However, it’s the implementation and sustained focus of the report’s findings that are of critical importance moving forward and meaningful action must be seen by all stakeholders and staff. Those who are affected by issues raised in this report may well feel disappointed by the inevitable time it will take to address the recommendations and the College will continue to listen to its members and work with the action-holders to ensure focus remains and that the ongoing work continues to foster a respectful and safe workplace culture”.

You can read the 'culture review of ambulance trusts' publication here.

Manifesto - Engaging with decision makers

09/02/2024

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.

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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
- ICU
- 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.