Bye, Bye EMT

The Return of the Ambulance Driver

So, that’s it then, the end of an era.

Full details are still awaited but it seems that EMTs will be no more.

My service is running it’s last EMT course. It’s also running it’s last paramedic courses for EMTs to convert to paramedics. In future, entry to paramedic level will be by university degree only.

From June 2007 the service will be recruiting a new grade of ‘lumpers and humpers‘ to be known as the Paramedic Assistant. They’ll just drive the ambulance and fetch and carry for the para; no patient care. We’ll be back to the good ol’ days when we had an ambulance driver and an attendant in the back.

It’s amazing how we just keep going round and round and round and round……


24 Responses to Bye, Bye EMT

  1. Carmelo says:

    What about existing EMTs?

  2. Merys Jones says:

    And to think of the amount of bitching that went on regarding Carmelo!

  3. Ellis James says:

    On training I was told EMT’s would have to do top up degrees, or just end up as overpaid drivers.

  4. nicenurse says:

    Don’t suppose it would be entirely terrible to be a ‘driver’ if you ended up with a state of the art vehicle, like that shown in your picture above!! Beats a lot of our vehicles hands down.


    (More seriously, people are going to have have to keep their ear to the ground and head above the parapet, (at the same time!!) for there is no indication that communication from HQ will suddenly improve any time soon and you may miss the boat for opportunities)

  5. Iain MacBain says:

    I’d heard about the Degree course becoming the only pathway into the service and I thiink that long term its a good thing. I wonder if existing paras will have to top up to this level. I think nurses did when the same went on with them.

    Do not think that a driver grade is a good thing though. There are to many situations you come across where an extra pair of trained hands are invaluable. I cant see us becoming triple crewed so the service provided is going to suffer.

    I think this is a very sad state of affairs and should be challenged at every opertunity.

  6. kevinmillhill says:

    The last time I used that picture, the caption read:-

    “After years of research, the real geniuses of the Scottish Ambulance Service – The Mechanics – have finally devised an ambulance completely impervious to refuelling with petrol instead of diesel. A further bonus is that it will always find its own way home.”

  7. RuralPara says:

    The same is happening in my service, and my heart sinks…
    We have EMTs who have only just finished their courses, and yet they are now being told their position is going to be obselete before they have even done their qualification year. It must be so depressing for them.
    I wonder how the funding works for these uni courses – does your trust employ you and then pay for you to do it or will it be like any other uni course where you will have to pay/take out loans for fees, bed and board, and then hope that a trust will take you on at the end of it?

  8. AK says:


  9. ecparamedic says:

    Nurses don’t have to ‘top up’ to degree level.


  10. ecparamedic says:

    We’ve just had the same advanced notice, I’m not resistant to change but I fear this change.

    For day to day jobs I’m sure we’ll all manage just fine, but for the ‘when the shit hits the fan’ jobs we will lose 50% of our experienced/qualified staff being immediately available as there will only be one on each vehicle rather than two.

    Having been through the local University I’m not exactly brimming with confidence for those coming to us in this way.


  11. big-ashb says:

    i’m to be on the last EMT course in april. it’ll be interesting to see where i go after that.

  12. Dave M says:

    well, this is interesting. you had the ready make thing, now what are they going to call it, i think on the ground it may be called jobs for johnies!!!

    EMT skills are needed, it just a cost cutting thing in my eyes. and the lets flush health care down the loo.

  13. Bunslinger says:

    Seems sad to me.

    I would really love to get into the service for my own reasons (don’t flame me hehe), but the only way in in my area is to take the foundation degree (and even then you aren’t guaranteed a job).

    This means I will spend this year working overtime to pay off some debts (I am 27) so that I can apply as a mature student. I have to fund the course myself with fees of £3000 a year, plus I have to find some way of paying all my bills whilst I study. The LEA are very cagey about what funding and support I qualify for as a mature student. I’ve been promised the info 3 times now and it still hasn’t arrived. There’s no guarantee I will even get on the course.

    I am lucky to still live at home with parent, and I can study in this town, but it’s still going to be really hard. I found out last week that this year’s intake (this is the 1st time they have run the degree in this area) are being told they are not allowed to have a part time job whilst studying because they do so much time on shift.

    They’re really encouraging people to take to this as a career aren’t they?

  14. Bunslinger says:

    ohhh… and I’m a Johnnie. Who knows, perhaps I’ll just become a driver’s mate..

  15. ecparamedic says:

    Bunslinger, they’ve never had to encourage people to join the Ambulance Service which is why they percieve that they can raise the bar and still get applicants, and to be fair, they probably will.

    Whether they get the right people for the job is another matter.


  16. Bunslinger says:

    SD, so true.

    It just galls me that if I were a 17 year old fresh out of college, I’d have all this laid out for me – as it stands, I have basically had to dig up all the info on it myself. I don’t get access to careers advice, or guided through application forms, or told what address to write to to find out about grants or loans.

    I want to do this very badly, but it’s been made very difficult for me. And I daresay that’s what they are looking for – I’m not saying it should be an easy career option, and I suppose this way they only get the enthusiastic types who really want to be there.

    Then you get into WHY you want to be there and that’s a whole ‘nother ball game..

    The only reason they want paras and not EMTs is because it looks good for the response figures. And if they can do it by cutting costs somewhere along the lines, that’s a double bonus. Stuff that patients could suffer because there would be less manpower. If I were an EMT I’d probably be looking for employment in the private sector around now.

  17. Iain MacBain says:

    And their worried about us eating costing a life.

  18. kingmagic says:

    Bunslinger….I dont know where you live, but a mate of mine told me that the Yorkshire Ambulance Service have an “Empolymentbility Scheme”. He did twenty-two in the forces and looked this up and went on a 6 week course which basically opens doors for people wishing to apply to join the service.
    Not sure if its still running but give them a ring. At the very least they may point you in the right direction.
    Good luck.

  19. kingmagic says:

    Apologies for my crap spelling…that should read “Employability”.
    This has no relation to whats mentioned in Magwitchs latest post and is not intended as sarcasm. (Although on reflection I can see that it might be)
    Anyway good luck Bunslinger in your future endeavours.

  20. ecparamedic says:

    I’ve got to be honest, in my experience it’s not an easy ride for the school leavers looking for a Paramedic Degree course. Careers advice in schools tends to be pretty useless.

    Courses are still limited in their availability, the recent announcement regarding the end of the Tech will most likely result in lots of Universities jumping on the bandwagon. What happens to the quality remains to be seen.

    Call me a cynic, buit I think the reason they are doing away with Tech is because they only want one expensive staff member on the bus instead of two.


  21. Ian says:

    I’ve put myself in the hands of the LAS’s paramedics and EMTs on many occasions. I’m perfectly happy with the level of technical competence they’ve displayed. They just don’t need to step up to degree level training to be competent or effective. It’ll be a waste of time and money, and I strongly suspect that it will also lead to a serious recruitment shortfall.

    Right, let’s think this through. A quick look shows the entry requirements for a paramedic degree. They’re relatively light but they include A levels. As you’ve got to do A levels anyway you’ll probably exceed the entry requirements. That means you qualify for a number of other possible subjects at degree level. So, you pick up New Scientist see that a new biochemistry graduate can pick up jobs in the £20K-30K bracket and after five years experience that could run to 40K maybe even 50K if you play your cards right. Are you really going to run up the debts that go with a degree nowadays for a poorly paying public service, shift based job with lacklustre prospects, or find a nice warm biochemistry lab to work in?

  22. big-ashb says:

    there is an advantage to the drgree course, time.

    the old way there was a 12-13 week training course, then 1 year as a trainee emt, then (assuming you pass) you have to work for at least 12 months as an emt before you can even consider applying for training to take you up to paramedic level. i’ve been told that it’s extremely rare for anyone to go from entry all the way to paramedic level inside 4 years.

    degree is 3 years, working part time as… well i was going to say trainee emt, but i guess it’ll be student paramedic or something. then assuming you pass, you’re a fully fledged paramedic with a lot less experience than the emt still working his way up…

  23. Joe says:

    I’m seriously considering a Paramedic Science degree upon completing my current one.

    My university (Kingston) offers the course and state that:
    “Requirements are 1 A-Level (preferably in a Science subject).”
    “Students’ tuition fees are:
    * normally paid by the sponsoring Ambulance Trust in the first year; and
    * always paid by the sponsoring Ambulance Trust in the second and third years.

    If successful in year 1, you will be earning a salary from the Ambulance Trust in years 2 and 3. But there is no salary in year 1, so you must be able to support yourself for the first year of study.”

    So it looks like you don’t actually need to pay your fees, thus saving you a rather large bundle of cash (Cheers Tony!!!).

  24. Dilated People ECP says:

    It will not matter what clinical qualification you have, you must obey Lord ORCON. Put your foot down and meet the target. We are ORCON slaves. Targets before healing!!

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