Student paramedics safe for calls says standards chief

Marcus Bailey, interim consultant paramedic

Marcus Bailey, interim consultant paramedic

First published in Echo News by

FOUR hundred student paramedics are being recruited directly by the region’s ambulance service because it can’t get enough qualified medics from the universities.

Marcus Bailey, interim consultant paramedic for the East of England Ambulance Service, is heavily involved in recruitment and training staff for the ambulance trust.

In 2009, the Unison union called for an immediate inquiry over what if described as a “terrible situation” – after seven student paramedics had gone out with more senior colleagues on emergency calls.

Five years on, this is now pretty much standard practice in the profession because of a national shortage of paramedics.

Mr Bailey said: “It’s a national issue, not just a local trust issue.

“It’s a case of supply and demand and, at the moment, there are more jobs that have come on the market than there are suitable people coming out of university.

“It’s what’s led most organisations to take the opportunity to develop their own paramedic programmes.

“The plan is always to ensure a full establishment.

“We’re in very different times now and we need to have students out there in the operational setting, because that’s how they will learn.”

Mr Bailey said the term “student paramedic” could be misleading because staff were at various stages of their training and experience.

He stressed this was particularly relevant in the case of Trudy Glenister, the Great Wakering woman, who bled to death as a result of an ectopic pregnancy.

Two unsupervised student paramedics were called to her aid and took 40 minutes to make a decision on what to do to help her.

He said: “Historically, to become a paramedic, you first had to become an ambulance technician, but recently we’ve seen a transition to people becoming paramedics over three years on courses such as the one run by Anglia Ruskin University.

“What happens now is that, at a certain point of time, the knowledge, skills and competence they’ve achieved will be the same as that of an ambulance technician. So in that case, what appears to be two students was, from our point of view, one technician equivalent supervising.

“Our chief executive, Dr Anthony Marsh, has made it very clear he wants a 75 per cent qualified workforce but that’s going to take some time to achieve.”

The trust was also criticised last year for filling just four of 149 vacant paramedic posts. It actually recruited 44 paramedics, but over the period, 40 existing staff moved on.

However, Mr Bailey said this was in line with the nation average staff turnover level in the service. Building up staff numbers was a long-term process.

He said: “Forty is our usual turnover and we would look at it in terms of workforce planning.

“We are now looking to replace 95 to 120 frontline staff out of more than 4,000, so it is quite low in context.”

Comments (11)

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7:53am Wed 23 Apr 14

Adrenaline_Junkie says...

That's the last thing I want someone treating me with acne after Iv'e crashed my car at over 100mph (because that's how fast I drive). The emergency services nowadays are a joke.
That's the last thing I want someone treating me with acne after Iv'e crashed my car at over 100mph (because that's how fast I drive). The emergency services nowadays are a joke. Adrenaline_Junkie
  • Score: -13

8:57am Wed 23 Apr 14

AuldGit says...

Whilst considering Adrenaline Junkie to be a total d1ck for boasting about his speeding, I'm inclined to agree with his other comments.
Whilst considering Adrenaline Junkie to be a total d1ck for boasting about his speeding, I'm inclined to agree with his other comments. AuldGit
  • Score: -1

9:09am Wed 23 Apr 14

Democrat says...

It is this typical complacency of the East of England Ambulance Service that leads to the situation of sending out two trainees together and the subsequent tragedy. One qualified and one trainee crew is fine and is how they get hands-on experience. But two trainees was clearly a recipe for disaster as soon as they drove out of the depot.

No-one at the East of England Ambulance Service is ever prepared to take responsibility for their actions. I was taken to Southend Hospital by a crew from the north of the region, while they were passed by a Southend ambulance heading in the other direction. The crews are great but as usual it is the poorly trained and poorly motivated non-combatants running the service that cost lives. That is why they can't recruit new paramedics.

If there was an Ofsted-style inspection they would be classed as inadequate and a taskforce would be sent in to sort it out. How many more have to die because of inherently bad management, organisation and poor attitude by middle managers and the executive officers?

East of England Ambulance Service needs to get a grip - and fast!
It is this typical complacency of the East of England Ambulance Service that leads to the situation of sending out two trainees together and the subsequent tragedy. One qualified and one trainee crew is fine and is how they get hands-on experience. But two trainees was clearly a recipe for disaster as soon as they drove out of the depot. No-one at the East of England Ambulance Service is ever prepared to take responsibility for their actions. I was taken to Southend Hospital by a crew from the north of the region, while they were passed by a Southend ambulance heading in the other direction. The crews are great but as usual it is the poorly trained and poorly motivated non-combatants running the service that cost lives. That is why they can't recruit new paramedics. If there was an Ofsted-style inspection they would be classed as inadequate and a taskforce would be sent in to sort it out. How many more have to die because of inherently bad management, organisation and poor attitude by middle managers and the executive officers? East of England Ambulance Service needs to get a grip - and fast! Democrat
  • Score: 8

10:26am Wed 23 Apr 14

Missrableoldgoat says...

It has been the same for years, back in the day it was a double tech crew now its a double qsap crew or ECA crew, It was a unfortunate event that cost someone there life, and beleve me they would not have wanted anyharm to come to them(think about how that crew feel now) and it is only now that everyday something is printed moaning about the EEAST, What about all the lives they do save, unlike the Fire service they do not report about everything we do i.e dog saved from down a hole, maybe they should and then you would see how much good they really do. And beleve me if you really need a Ambulance for a real emergency you will be glad when they turn up.

PS You would of thought he would have ironed his shirt and where are his rank slides !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It has been the same for years, back in the day it was a double tech crew now its a double qsap crew or ECA crew, It was a unfortunate event that cost someone there life, and beleve me they would not have wanted anyharm to come to them(think about how that crew feel now) and it is only now that everyday something is printed moaning about the EEAST, What about all the lives they do save, unlike the Fire service they do not report about everything we do i.e dog saved from down a hole, maybe they should and then you would see how much good they really do. And beleve me if you really need a Ambulance for a real emergency you will be glad when they turn up. PS You would of thought he would have ironed his shirt and where are his rank slides !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Missrableoldgoat
  • Score: 8

10:43am Wed 23 Apr 14

QuestionTime says...

"He stressed this was particularly relevant in the case of Trudy Glenister, the Great Wakering woman, who bled to death as a result of an ectopic pregnancy."

Why is the government allowing trainee paramedics to learn their job at the potential expense of someone's life?

What would happen if your local gas fitter turned up to fit your boiler and he/she was not CORGI registered nor qualified to do the job and you died of carbon monoxide poisoning? I think he/she would go to jail! Yet the unqualified paramedic will be protected......why?
"He stressed this was particularly relevant in the case of Trudy Glenister, the Great Wakering woman, who bled to death as a result of an ectopic pregnancy." Why is the government allowing trainee paramedics to learn their job at the potential expense of someone's life? What would happen if your local gas fitter turned up to fit your boiler and he/she was not CORGI registered nor qualified to do the job and you died of carbon monoxide poisoning? I think he/she would go to jail! Yet the unqualified paramedic will be protected......why? QuestionTime
  • Score: 7

11:30am Wed 23 Apr 14

romantic says...

Obviously, trainees only get experience by going out on the job, but surely it is sensible that they should be with experienced colleagues. I am sure this point is regularly made to management, and then ignored. Too many layers of management, some of whom have probably never even been in an ambulance, but it is the frontline staff who cop the feedback from the public when things go wrong.
Obviously, trainees only get experience by going out on the job, but surely it is sensible that they should be with experienced colleagues. I am sure this point is regularly made to management, and then ignored. Too many layers of management, some of whom have probably never even been in an ambulance, but it is the frontline staff who cop the feedback from the public when things go wrong. romantic
  • Score: 6

11:45am Wed 23 Apr 14

Route88 says...

Adrenaline_Junkie wrote:
That's the last thing I want someone treating me with acne after Iv'e crashed my car at over 100mph (because that's how fast I drive). The emergency services nowadays are a joke.
If you crash at 100mph I doubt whether you will be in a position to worry about acne or anything else for that matter!
[quote][p][bold]Adrenaline_Junkie[/bold] wrote: That's the last thing I want someone treating me with acne after Iv'e crashed my car at over 100mph (because that's how fast I drive). The emergency services nowadays are a joke.[/p][/quote]If you crash at 100mph I doubt whether you will be in a position to worry about acne or anything else for that matter! Route88
  • Score: 8

7:21pm Wed 23 Apr 14

runwellian says...

Student paramedics safe for calls says standards chief ... try telling that to Mrs Glenister's family?

What an insult ... how dare you say they are safe, this young woman died due to neglect.

I have lost faith in the ambulance service as a direct result of this report!

How long will it be before get 9 years old that want to be doctors, dealing with patients or nurses that want to be brain surgeons being allowed to operate due to staff shortages?

If staff are that short in supply, the NHS needs to ask why?
Staff are treated so badly whilst consultants use hospital facilities for their private patients.

the NHS has a duty of care and sending a car mechanic to somebody having a heart attack is not my idea of care!
Student paramedics safe for calls says standards chief ... try telling that to Mrs Glenister's family? What an insult ... how dare you say they are safe, this young woman died due to neglect. I have lost faith in the ambulance service as a direct result of this report! How long will it be before get 9 years old that want to be doctors, dealing with patients or nurses that want to be brain surgeons being allowed to operate due to staff shortages? If staff are that short in supply, the NHS needs to ask why? Staff are treated so badly whilst consultants use hospital facilities for their private patients. the NHS has a duty of care and sending a car mechanic to somebody having a heart attack is not my idea of care! runwellian
  • Score: -1

7:27am Thu 24 Apr 14

A Very Private Gentleman says...

this stems back from 82 when the unions and one senior training officer wanted or advocated the american style paramedic person on the job.
the strike in the mid 80's caused management to upgrade retrain and change the working ethos of the people on the front line.
they went from miller level first aiders to technicians doing defibrillator and intubate and infusion, it all got very complicated, wages rose new vehicles came in place, they started using fast response cars and bikes, then the chopper came along.
it has not been able to keep up. the culture shock changed when the boys went from being driver/attendants at £70 quid a week to earning nearly £40k a year with overtime.
it tried to hard to become more pro like the Police.
This new lot that everyone is arguing about, are the PCSO equivalent of the ambulance service. half baked not quite there, not allowed to do the full monty until they are ready.
i can tell you they are better qualified than 30 years ago though:
this stems back from 82 when the unions and one senior training officer wanted or advocated the american style paramedic person on the job. the strike in the mid 80's caused management to upgrade retrain and change the working ethos of the people on the front line. they went from miller level first aiders to technicians doing defibrillator and intubate and infusion, it all got very complicated, wages rose new vehicles came in place, they started using fast response cars and bikes, then the chopper came along. it has not been able to keep up. the culture shock changed when the boys went from being driver/attendants at £70 quid a week to earning nearly £40k a year with overtime. it tried to hard to become more pro like the Police. This new lot that everyone is arguing about, are the PCSO equivalent of the ambulance service. half baked not quite there, not allowed to do the full monty until they are ready. i can tell you they are better qualified than 30 years ago though: A Very Private Gentleman
  • Score: 0

9:20am Thu 24 Apr 14

EEAST Media says...

Ideally we want at least one paramedic on board an ambulance, but sometimes unforeseen circumstances such as a high level of sickness means it can't always happen.

As well as recruiting student paramedics, we are trying to get qualified paramedics and other staff but so are many other services. Working with more experienced colleauges is invaluable to the students' experience, and so is going out seeing patients.

As Missrableoldgoat alludes to, the ambulance crews are busy seeing patients 24/7; we publicise some incidents as well as other stories such as patient meet-ups, on www.eastamb.nhs.uk/n
ews, facebook and Twitter.
Ideally we want at least one paramedic on board an ambulance, but sometimes unforeseen circumstances such as a high level of sickness means it can't always happen. As well as recruiting student paramedics, we are trying to get qualified paramedics and other staff but so are many other services. Working with more experienced colleauges is invaluable to the students' experience, and so is going out seeing patients. As Missrableoldgoat alludes to, the ambulance crews are busy seeing patients 24/7; we publicise some incidents as well as other stories such as patient meet-ups, on www.eastamb.nhs.uk/n ews, facebook and Twitter. EEAST Media
  • Score: 0

2:13pm Thu 24 Apr 14

A Very Private Gentleman says...

those who know do not show, this post site is for our say not and question answer and reply session like the mingles issue on this site
those who know do not show, this post site is for our say not and question answer and reply session like the mingles issue on this site A Very Private Gentleman
  • Score: 0

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