|"These are currently proposed changes to the threshold qualification level for entry to the Register for paramedics. They will be presented to the HCPC's Education and Training Committee for approval at their meeting on Thursday 1 March 2018 and will need final approval by their Council."|
Most members will by now be aware of the pending outcome of the HCPC’s consultation on the threshold level for paramedic entry to the Register. The recommendations, which await ratification later in March, are for degree level entry with no new courses to be approved after 1 December 2018 and the withdrawal of approval for existing courses from 1 September 2021.
The College of Paramedics has long held the view that the threshold level for entry to the Register should be a degree. This view has been strengthened substantially over the last decade as the paramedics’ workload has involved increasing proportions of urgent and unscheduled care for which complex decisions have to be made independently.
As noted above, the changes being recommended as a consequence of the HCPC’s consultation are stepped and importantly will not affect any of the following:
- Nothing changes for prospective students who are “signed up” for courses starting this autumn on certificate, diploma, FdSc or degree;
- Nothing changes for existing student paramedics on approved programmes either on certificate, diploma, FdSc or degree;
- Nothing changes for existing registered paramedics whether they have Staff Council, NHSTA, NHSTD, IHCD, Edexcel, or any other qualification received via in house or external. That includes all International registrants who have been mapped from Europe or beyond Europe; and,
- Nothing will prevent the establishment of degree apprenticeships which offers an alternative route to the HEI (university) awards
Whilst the College of Paramedics believes this is the right thing for patients and the paramedics profession, it also recognises the huge numbers of non-degree qualified paramedics who have worked so diligently during the last three decades. It is these clinicians who have cemented the paramedic profession’s place as equal to other healthcare professions and whose long-standing dedication have brought the levels of recognition and respect that have enable landmark achievements such as paramedic prescribing.
This is not a new debate. It has been a long-journey which has been the subject of discussion for 15 years or more and has certainly been on the horizon for at least 10 years. If the changes that have occurred in paramedic practice and the expectations placed upon them over the last 10 years are an indication of what is yet to come in future, then the profession has to move forward and accept that nothing can be allowed to stand still. The majority of the College’s members understand the need to position paramedics for the challenges coming in the next few years and we sincerely hope that all paramedics will embrace this change as a positive development for the profession to which they have already contributed so much.