Kingston University has joined forces with the London Ambulance Service to launch another strand of its Foundation Degree in Health and Medical Sciences. The programme’s paramedic pathway is being delivered by the Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences, run jointly by the University and St George’s Hospital Medical School, in conjunction with the ambulance service and Merton College.
The first 13 students, who started the course in May, are currently mastering the finer points of patient assessment. The programme is being delivered through a combination of face-to-face teaching, e-learning and work-based experience. Once participants have achieved trainee emergency medical technician status at the end of their first year, they will be employed by the London Ambulance Service. Paramedic pathway leader Paul Burke said students would team up with experienced NHS clinicians responding to 999 calls. “They could be required to attend incidents ranging from a major road accident to helping a frail person injured in a fall,” he said. “Students will be allowed to use a defibrillator to restart a patient’s heart and administer a limited range of drugs. As they gain more experience, they will also be able to apply more advanced life support techniques.”
Students will attain emergency medical technician status at the end of their second year and become registered paramedics a year later, leading to full-time employment with the London Ambulance Service. “This is the only paramedic course offered by the service in partnership with an education institution south of the river,” Mr Burke said. “Students will learn all the skills needed to provide immediate assistance to patients before they reach hospital. They will even have to pass an ambulance driving test so they’re qualified to drive at blue-light status.”
The head of education and development for the London Ambulance Service, Bill O’Neill, is confident the programme will produce a steady stream of fully-trained and highly-motivated staff. “The inclusion of paramedic pathways in courses such as the Foundation Degree in Health and Medical Sciences is a very important step in moving towards better integrated paramedic education and training,” he said.
Students who successfully complete the programme will also have an opportunity to top up to a Bachelor of Science with honours by continuing their studies on a part-time basis.