The paramedic profession is at the forefront of a changing healthcare system that is striving to break down barriers and address unnecessary inefficiencies. The College of Paramedics has always advocated that as our profession continues to evolve there will be increasing opportunities for it to be a key contributor to the delivery model of the future. The contribution the paramedic profession has to offer to a new model of healthcare delivery has been identified within the “NHS Long Term Plan” (2019) and with that acknowledgement comes new responsibilities. The quality of education undertaken by students is without doubt a pivotal component in shaping their professional journey. It is imperative, therefore, that the College of Paramedics continues to produce curricula guidance that not only meets but exceeds the expectations of healthcare delivery in the 21st century.
In order to enable this new delivery model, the workforce must have the right skills and competencies to meet the demands of the contemporary healthcare setting and be prepared for future evolutions. The workforce must exhibit the values and behaviours expected within the NHS, and demonstrate the ability to assess, treat, manage, discharge and, where appropriate, refer service users requiring acute, chronic, and/or specialist services in primary, secondary and wider regional care.
Clinical decisions by paramedics are increasingly made against a background of complex and often conflicting values. The most obvious evidence of this is in the growing importance of ethical issues in healthcare. But there are many other increasingly “values complex” areas of paramedic practice, such as clinical governance, audit, quality assurance, concerns about cost-effectiveness, and the use of quality-of-life and other similar measures in preventive and public health medicine.
Just as we need a clear evidence-base, because of the increasing complexity of the evidence underpinning decision-making, so increasingly do we need values-based practice due to the increasing complexity of the values underpinning challenging decision-making. The Education Advisory Committee of the College of Paramedics has since been working on a values-toolkit, to augment the teaching of values-based practice in paramedic education as an adjunct to the current undergraduate curriculum.
Looking to the future, the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) has raised the threshold for entry to the register from Certificate to a full Honours Degree from 1st of September 2021. This very welcome change has given us the opportunity to be less prescriptive in our guidance and as such we have reduced this new edition by thirty percent from the previous edition. Before September 2021 we plan to review and reduce further to allow even more flexibility for education providers.
The College of Paramedics is committed to encouraging the quality development of paramedic education programmes and to supporting the delivery of innovative, engaging education that fosters lifelong learning and development of our future professional group. We look forward to engaging with more and more education providers as they seek our full endorsement of their paramedic programmes for both pre and post registration courses and to work with us to produce a National Curriculum of which we can all be proud.
This Paramedic Curriculum Guidance has been developed through an effective collaboration that has involved education providers, practice-based education providers, a patient advisory forum, student paramedics, subject specialists and College of Paramedics members whose role incorporates the clinical, educational, research, leadership and management pillars of the Post-Registration Paramedic Career Framework.