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A degree that enhances patient care and boosts training opportunities for budding paramedics will be delivered at five different universities across Scotland, including the University of the West of Scotland.
The Paramedic BSc degree reflects the growing importance of paramedics to Scottish healthcare, including more emphasis for paramedics to support people with long-term and chronic conditions, mental health and minor illness.
Caroline Lamb, NES chief executive said: ‘Paramedics are an increasingly important part of the mix of health and social care professionals. They’re not only a key profession in the ambulance service, but also work across all the other NHS boards as well, helping people with a range of conditions.
‘Over the years, their educational opportunities have steadily expanded to match their growing role. Expanding their training to degree-level programmes reflects the reality of what they can expect to face in their daily roles, and will provide them not only with these skills, but wider professional opportunities as well.’
Pauline Howie, chief executive of the Scottish Ambulance Service said: ‘We are absolutely delighted to work in partnership with these universities – it is exciting to know they will be educating new generations of paramedics who will enter the workforce armed with the latest skills and trained to the highest standards.
‘These changes not only increase our capacity for training more paramedics, helping us meet predictions for future demands of patients, but they support the delivery of integrated health and social care.’
The degree will be delivered at the following locations from September 2020, giving students access to new, enhanced and more localised training opportunities in a wider range of settings:
· Robert Gordon University
· University of Stirling
· Queen Margaret University
· Glasgow Caledonian University
· University of the West of Scotland
Currently students study for a Diploma in Paramedic Practice at the Scottish Ambulance Academy (SAA) to become a paramedic and this course will continue to run to 2021. There will also be the opportunity to study for the degree on a part-time basis. Glasgow Caledonian University, University of Stirling and Robert Gordon’s University have been running similar courses for students wanting to become paramedics.
The first intake of students to the new course will take place in September 2020 while staff will continue to be recruited and trained via the SAA for other positions within the service, including ambulance technicians and ambulance care assistants.
Pauline Howie added: ‘Paramedics are carrying out more complex clinical procedures which used to only take place in a hospital environment. The BSc in Paramedic Science will enhance the skills of our paramedics allowing them to treat more patients with complex needs in an out of hospital environment. The geographical spread of the universities will allow students to study for the degree at a location near to their home or desired location.’