Student paramedics hit by delays to course approval at UEA and Anglia Ruskin

Ambulances at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: SABAH MEDDINGS

Ambulances at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: SABAH MEDDINGS - Credit: Archant

Student paramedics with the East of England Ambulance Trust may not qualify until next year after two university courses failed to get approval.

The Health and Care Professions Council has said more work needs to be done on courses at the University of East Anglia and Anglia Ruskin University. The ambulance trust had hoped to recruit 400 paramedics as part of its bid to improve performance following criticism from health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) two years ago over poor response times.

A spokesperson for the trust said it was difficult to know how many student paramedics were affected as it depends on when the university courses are accredited.

They said: 'While it is disappointing that the universities have not achieved the necessary approval in the agreed timeframe, we are working closely with them to ensure students are able to complete their qualification with as little delay as possible.

'The trust had hundreds of frontline vacancies at the start of 2014.

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'This was contributing to poor response times and long ambulance delays for patients.

'Therefore the trust undertook a massive recruitment programme to increase frontline staffing and ambulance cover. As a result of this work there has been a significant improvement in performance and response times to patients.

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'The students who have been recruited have undertaken training and development through the trust over the last 12 months.

'The trust has been working with local universities on developing a programme that is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council.'

Dr Ruth Jackson, Dean of the Faculty of Medical Science at Anglia Ruskin University, said: 'We continue to work with the East of England Ambulance Service and the Health and Care Professional Council (HCPC) to secure approval of a Diploma in Paramedic Studies, which we anticipate will be delivered in early 2016.

'This Diploma is unrelated to our existing BSc (Hons) in Paramedic Science, which is fully accredited by the HCPC.'

A spokesperson for the University of East Anglia said: 'UEA offers a range of high-quality health courses approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and already trains paramedics on a three-year degree programme.

'The HCPC requested that the University carry out some additional work on the diploma for EEAST, which is a normal part of the approval process.

'We are actively working with them on this and it is our ambition to begin delivery of the diploma by the end of this year.'

•Are you one of the student paramedics affected? Email our health correspondent at

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