East of England Ambulance Trust under fire for student paramedic course delay

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Ambulance chiefs have come under fire after its student paramedic programme is unlikely to start until next year.

The East of England Ambulance Trust commissioned the course to fill frontline vacancies and improve response times.

The trust commissioned Anglia Ruskin University and the University of East Anglia to develop the course with the Health and Care Professional Council.

Chiefs have now written to student paramedics to state the course requires more work and it is unlikely to be ready until next January.

GMB regional officer Tony Hughes says managers should be ashamed of themselves.

He said: “The trust should have made sure that the training places were in place before employing new staff without a clear path for them to get qualified as paramedics. It is unbelievable that EEAS are trying to wash their hands and blame the training provider.

“The trust should have gone through a process of due diligence. However it would seem that the management do their plans on the back of a fag packet. New staff will have to wait much longer to be qualified.

“GMB want to be satisfied this situation does not put lives at risk across the East of England and there is no shortfall in staff with the right level of qualifications staffing the ambulances.”

The trust statement says: “The trust had hundreds of frontline vacancies at the start of 2014.

“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.

“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.

“Whilst it is disappointing that the universities have not achieved the necessary approval in the agreed time frame, we are working closely with them to ensure students are able to complete their qualification with as little delay as possible.”