The shortage of paramedics in Cumbria has prompted academics at the University of Cumbria and the North West Ambulance Service to collaborate to create a course aimed at teaching life-saving skills.
The university already has a track record of training paramedics and ambulance technicians; over the last four years, 100 paramedics and over 300 technicians have been trained for the RAF and army.
The new course which begins in April and will be based at the university's Ambleside campus is aimed at helping fill the shortfall in trained civilian staff.
“Part of the problem is the profession has become a victim of its’ own success,” John Gillespie, head of clinical education and training for the North West Ambulance Service, says."Paramedics are seen as a profession that can help the wider NHS and we’ve lost paramedics to parts of primary care and accident and emergency units. The whole idea of this new course is to try and help Cumbrians stay in Cumbria.”
The new Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE) in Paramedic Practice will equip students with the knowledge and skills to be able to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council as a paramedic. Split into two main parts - theory and placements - recruitment for the two-year course is open now.
“We want those who complete this course as ready for work as possible,” says Tom Davidson, a senior lecturer in paramedic practice at the university, who still works regular shifts as a paramedic and can call on his own experience when teaching. “Students will be learning a lot of different skills; social care and mental health but also the emergency and day to day work such as life support and trauma. And because they’ll be taught in Ambleside we’ll go on the hills to teach the practical skills.”
The students will also have an opportunity to 'earn as you learn’ by applying for a contract with the local ambulance service to work as an emergency medical technician. In addition to this NWAS have guaranteed an interview for successful graduates.