Attention of student paramedics: reimbursement of fees (£150)

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A message to student paramedics from CEO Robert Morton


Since I joined the Trust 3 weeks ago, a number of you have shared some very real concerns with me about the monthly fees you’ve been paying as part of your student paramedic (SP) training programme, and what your money was being used for. The message you’ve given both myself and others in the executive team is well thought-out, and has resonated very strongly with us. 

In an increasing number of jurisdictions, students apply to go to college in the usual way and pay their own way to secure a degree in order to obtain employment. The programme that the Trust set up in early 2014 was created using a model that has worked well for other UK ambulance services, where students are employed prior to being qualified, contribute monthly for a set period of time and additional funding is also given from elsewhere - in this case from Health Education England (HEE). This is to help pay for the course and university fees that go with training new students. But at that time, because the Trust needed to recruit hundreds of you very quickly, the second part of that funding hadn’t initially been secured before it started recruiting you. It was recognised that if/when HEE provided funding, we might be able to change the position on your student fees. 

I and my colleagues in the executive team want EEAST to be an organisation that listens, values and keeps its people. You are the future of the paramedic profession, and we need to look into your and your unions’ concerns when you tell us something is wrong. UNISON has clearly conveyed the views of those that they represent to us. 

Having listened to views of staff, students and trade union partners, we discussed this issue as a team, earlier this week. Our finance directorate has been able to confirm that we will continue to receive the course fees from HEE. Therefore, I’m pleased to say that together, we have now been able to ‘ring-fence’ some money within the organisation for the additional student paramedic training costs, above those of the course fees. That means we have taken an executive decision to stop your monthly course fees and reimburse you for the contributions you’ve already made.  While we anticipate paramedic training will transition to degree in the future, we do not intend to charge student paramedics any fees while the current model of education continues. 

We now need to arrange for the deductions to stop and refund your money, and we are hoping that this can be done quickly. Given the significant adverse impact of the restructure on our support services and the consequent increase in their workload, we ask you to be patient as we sort out the processes to do this. Please keep an eye on Need to Know for more updates and details on this or contact if you have any questions. 

The important thing to note is that the decision has been made to make this change and the executive fully supports it. 

I want to personally thank you all for your commitment to our service. In turn, I and my executive colleagues, will keep listening to and working with all of you, so together we can make a better EEAST – for each other and for our patients. 

With best wishes, 


Robert Morton, Chief Executive

Published 11th August, 2015

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