Emergency Medical Technicians employed by the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) are undertaking professional development enabling them to qualifying with a foundation degree in Paramedic Science.
Throughout the year, students will be placed in non-ambulance settings including emergency departments, paediatrics, obstetrics and operating theatres. NIAS has developed the degree as an interim measure before moving to the BSc Honours course in 2021 like their other Allied Health Professional (AHP) colleagues i.e. Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists.
Department of Health Permanent Secretary, Richard Pengelly, recently visited students on placement at the Royal Victoria Hospital Emergency Department. He said: “This is an exciting time for Paramedics who are now formally recognised and aligned to the Allied Health professions group in Northern Ireland.
“Paramedics are the first line of the Health Service, providing initial treatment on scene in some of the most challenging of conditions. Last year they responded to 219,372 calls, covering 7,725,993 miles to bring their services to those most in need. Gaining professional recognition and development as one of the AHP professions, will enhance and support the Paramedic status enabling them to have the potential to influence the patient care pathway.”
The first phase of the Foundation Degree commenced in January 2019 and trainees are expected to graduate in the autumn.
Commenting on this development programme, NIAS Chief Executive, Michael Bloomfield, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for Emergency Medical Technicians to further develop their skills and obtain a Foundation in Paramedic Science. The addition of these newly trained Paramedics later this year will help stabilise the provision of emergency ambulance cover across Northern Ireland and increase our capacity to further support the wider transformation agenda, to which NIAS has an important contribution to make."
In conclusion, Richard Pengelly said: “I welcome the opportunity to meet with students during the course of their work experience. These are highly motivated and committed individuals and the professional development being undertaken will bring them in line with the rest of the UK and provide recognition for the vital work they do.”
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