Following stakeholder consultation during spring 2017, the HCPC reviewed and published the new Standards of Education and Training (SETs) in June 2017. Whilst the College of Paramedics was actively involved in the consultation feedback along with many other groups, we were disappointed, but perhaps not overly surprised that the threshold for entry to the Paramedic Register remained unchanged at “Equivalent of Certificate of Education”.
For the past 14 years, the College of Paramedics and previously the British Paramedics Association have challenged the validity of the threshold entry for paramedics in the HCPC SETs. Since those early days of grandparenting, graduate paramedic programmes have proliferated across England and both Swansea and Glasgow Caledonian University have recently gained approval for a BSc programme subject to conditions, whilst Northern Ireland is actively discussing with other providers a clear way forward.
The Paramedic Evidence based Education Project (PEEP) is a well-read text familiar to both education providers and our members the final report “a case for change” as we know was delayed in being published for several factors, but is expected very soon. That contains a loud clarion call for a degree status.
The HCPC meeting
A paper was tabled by the Head of Policy at the HCPC. There was clear acceptance by the HCPC education committee that the threshold for paramedics currently set at certificate or equivalent was out of date and needed to change. Various views were discussed by committee members, who overall felt that the SET threshold no longer matched either the current paramedic or the future paramedic.
So, on 7th of September 2017 a paper will be tabled to go out to wide consultation in the paramedic community to raise the academic entry level. Most agreed that stepping via a diploma to degree was a pointless exercise as they would be re doing this work a year later. Some concerns were expressed that PEEP was a Health Education England document, however, importantly, it is made abundantly clear that any future change will have an impact on England and all the devolved nations.
The College is proactively preparing for the consultation launch in September to ensure that its members and wider stakeholders are cognisant of the importance of this next stage in our professional development. We ask you to be ready to bring your views to us to help us build a clear response from the College during the consultation period this autumn, and in the lead up to Christmas. It will be important to remember that this is not arguing for university routes only, but a rise in education and training across the board for pre-registration to a degree that will still allow the apprenticeship models etc at degree level to proliferate and deliver flexible approaches.
Bob Fellows FCPara
Head of Professional Development