Paramedic training suspended over watchdog worries

Sarah HallAmbulance bosses have suspended training for paramedics in the region after a watchdog raised concerns over the standard of the education.Sarah Hall

Ambulance bosses have suspended training for paramedics in the region after a watchdog raised concerns over the standard of the education.

More than 50 students training to become paramedics with the East of England Ambulance Service have had part of their studies put on hold because the Health Professions Council (HPC) raised concerns.

The HPC, a regulator set up to protect the public, investigated the part-time Certificate of Higher Education in Emergency Medical Care, delivered by the ambulance service and the University of East Anglia over two years.

The courses are approved by the HPC, but because the trust wants to change the scheme to take on as many as 280 students in two cohorts a year, the watchdog checked up on how it is being run.

And a string of concerns were raised, prompting the watchdog to set 25 conditions which must be met if the HPC is to continue approving the course.

Conditions are set when certain standards of education and training have not been met or there is insufficient evidence of the standard being met.

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Among the concerns raised were that the number of staff running the courses might not be adequate to manage the potential student numbers and that it was unclear how mentoring of students worked.

The inspectors also said there was insufficient evidence provided to judge if the standard of proficiency in selecting appropriate assessment techniques for patients was being met and called for revised documentation detailing how that standard is taught and assessed.

The ambulance trust today confirmed concerns had been raised and said it had decided to suspend training on some parts of the course would last for about a fortnight while evidence was gathered to ease the concerns of the watchdog.

Dr Pamela Chrispin, medical director for the East of England Ambulance Service, said: 'The HPC have required reassurance over aspects of our training concerning support and mentoring of the unusually large number of student ambulance paramedics in the current intake.

'Therefore we have temporarily suspended some elements of the course while we collect evidence and undertake a short review in order to satisfy the HPC that our training meets their requirements.

'We are hoping to restore some of those elements in about two weeks' time.'

The trust said 55 student paramedics were affected and stressed not all training had been suspended.

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