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Ambulance trust defends decision to use trainee paramedics


Ambulance service bosses have stood by their decision to deploy trainee paramedics with ambulance crews in an attempt to deal with the extra weekend demand.

The East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS) said trainees had worked with fully-qualified staff and there was never any danger to patients.

Associate Director of operations Neil Storey said: ‘We are totally satisfied that our decision to employ these students on frontline ambulance duties alongside experienced members of staff was completely safe.

‘In fact, by using them we were able to send out more resources to meet the demands of the public.’

Officials said that the seven trainees, who were all more than halfway through a 13-week training course, had been working in an ‘assistant role’ and the tactic could be repeated if necessary.

The student paramedics’ involvement in parts of Cambridge and Suffolk was reported after an ambulance service manager contacted a local newspaper anonymously.

A spokeswoman said: ‘The students, already trained in a number of skills, enabled a safe level of service to be maintained across the region in these exceptionally busy times.

‘And our student paramedics were not asked to do anything outside the scope of their training so far.

‘We are experiencing a rising demand for our services and the students made the system safer by enabling experienced paramedics to look after patients needing their care.’


Readers' comments (3)

  • I am a nurse working for an ambulance service in the West Country, and have recently attended a mentor update so much more in the picture with regard to education going on out there.
    I do not have any problem with student paramedics going out on the ambulances, and in fact welcome the fact.
    If one parallels the student paramedic to a student nurse, and the ambulance is the hospital ward, what difference is there? We would all throw our hands up in horror if a student nurse never went on a ward in her training so why not use similar principles to the student paramedic.
    Within the ambulance service there are different grades, and one of these grades is taught to be the driver, and to look after the equipment, so in this case the crew actually had a higher qualification than might have been.

    Judith Wanstall Clinical Supervisor

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  • The problem was in that they were not more than half way through their training. In fact they had only been in a few weeks and hadn't completed their basic training . This was yet another "make the target" move and was extremely unfair. But, is yet another case of emergency services being funded on a basis of performance.

    This i know as a friend of mine was one of the aforementioned trainees. He said they were put on the spot and felt unsafe.

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  • A student nurse wouldn't be allowed on the wards until he/she had completed their basic training first.

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