Left to right: Victoria Duffy (Programme Leader and Senior Lecturer in Clinical Skills), Paramedic Stacey Hilton and Yvonne Ormston (NEAS Chief Executive)

Bridging the paramedic shortage in Sunderland

New student paramedic course launched

The next generation of home-grown life-saving paramedics is set to be welcomed at the University of Sunderland in partnership with North East Ambulance Service.

In a bid to help address the national paramedic shortage and to invest in its staff, North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) has worked with the University of Sunderland to develop a new bespoke specialist training programme.

The two year Diploma of Higher Education in Paramedic Practice has been accredited by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and is tailored to meet local needs, with a maximum of three cohorts of 20 students per year.

Students will be employed by NEAS, allowing them to combine theoretical learning with operational shifts. They will also undertake clinical placements across a range of healthcare environments to help them gain a wider understanding of healthcare in the region. 

The first group will begin the programme in September and will be the first to have access to the University’s new Living Lab facility, developed as part of a £5m investment in Science Complex Phase II, providing interactive learning facilities based on the patient journey.

Yvonne Ormston, NEAS Chief Executive, said: “Our new partnership with the University of Sunderland will allow us to grow our own paramedics through a regular intake, on top of the graduate paramedics we already accept from our successful partnership with Teesside University.

“This new course also allows us to invest in and develop our workforce by enabling them to progress their careers without the need to leave the Trust.

“In order to develop our staff, we have taken the decision to ring-fence the first cohort to our own internal applicants. Future courses will also have a number of ring-fenced places to ensure we are able to upskill our own workforce as well as welcome new faces into our Trust.

“Training to become a paramedic is intense and challenging but is also one of the most rewarding opportunities available. I look forward to welcoming the next generation of student paramedics to our organisation very soon.”

Victoria Duffy, Programme Leader and Senior Lecturer in Clinical Skills in the University’s Department of Pharmacy, Health and Well-Being, said:The changing and dynamic role of the paramedic, together with proposals for development of an all graduate profession have been instrumental in developing the context to the programme, which we’re delighted to be delivering alongside the NEAS training and education team.

“The diploma will educate and develop students into effective practitioners able to care for patients in a range of challenging and unpredictable situations. It’s designed to reduce the gap between theory and practice, ensuring students develop the skills required for clinical practice. These enhanced clinical skills will allow them to work with a range of medicines, offering more treatments in communities alongside GPs and other health professionals.”

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