Uni tack­les short­age of paramedics

New course aims to boost num­bers

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - FRONT PAGE - BY DANIEL BOAL

The num­ber of paramedics work­ing in the north and north-east could soon be bol­stered with the roll-out of a new univer­sity course.

Robert Gor­don Univer­sity (RGU) in Aberdeen will launch a para­medic un­der­grad­u­ate course next year.

Con­cerns have been raised about the short­age of am­bu­lance cover in Grampian and the High­lands, with un­der­pres­sure staff drafted in to cover for col­leagues as they trans­fer pa­tients else­where or take sick leave.

RGU’s BSc para­medic prac­tice will tackle that, giv­ing stu­dents ac­cess to lo­calised ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, while ad­dress­ing the re­quire­ment for reg­is­ter­ing as a para­medic through the Health Care Pro­fes­sions Coun­cil (HCPC).

Prin­ci­pal Pro­fes­sor John Harper said: “It is a great priv­i­lege to be se­lected to pro­vide this course in Scot­land, adding to our proud his­tory of qual­ity health­care ed­u­ca­tion which ad­dresses na­tional skills needs.”

Cur­rently stu­dents in Scot­land study para­medic sci­ence/prac­tice at the Scot­tish Am­bu­lance Academy (SAA) at Glas­gow Cale­do­nian Univer­sity with en­try to the HCPC reg­is­ter at diploma level.

But from Septem­ber 2021 stu­dents will need to achieve a bach­e­lor’s de­gree to be­come a reg­is­tered para­medic.

Pro­fes­sor Ian Mur­ray, head of the school of nurs­ing and mid­wifery at RGU, said: “We will be work­ing in part­ner­ship with the Scot­tish Am­bu­lance Ser­vice (SAS) to de­velop the new course and train the fu­ture paramedics of Scot­land.

“The two con­tracts awarded will in­volve a min­i­mum of 40 stu­dents per year and will sig­nif­i­cantly in­crease the reach of our de­mand-led teach­ing,” he added. Four other providers suc­cess­fully bid to bring para­medic un­der­grad­u­ate ed­u­ca­tion to their in­sti­tu­tions, but RGU was the only univer­sity to suc­cess­fully win con­tracts for two re­gions: Grampian and the High­lands and is­lands.

Pauline Howie, SAS chief ex­ec­u­tive said: “We are ab­so­lutely de­lighted to work in part­ner­ship with these uni­ver­si­ties.

“It is ex­cit­ing to know they will be ed­u­cat­ing new gen­er­a­tions of paramedics who will en­ter the work­force armed with the lat­est skills and trained to the high­est stan­dards.”

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