ECA - EMT progession: your questions answered

Side of RRV with lozenge

Following recent articles on Need to Know, many emergency care assistants (ECAs) have been in touch to ask questions about future courses, allocations for 2015/16 and the process of deciding who goes on courses and when.

Since the beginning of this year, a number of ECAs have completed their training and the first of the 15 who took their course in January are starting to practice as technicians. There are currently 12 ECAs on a training course in Beccles, Suffolk.

There are 60 places on the courses in 2015/16 and another 60 in 2016/17 and there will be this amount every year until all ECAs, who want to, are given the opportunity to progress.

Places on courses are allocated by the scores achieved on the pre-entry exam and area resourcing so we don’t lose all staff from the same area at the same time. Length of service is not taken into consideration.

Chief Executive Anthony Marsh said: “When I took over in January this year there were 500 ECAs and the Trust was planning to recruit more this year. There were no plans to offer progression.

“I immediately stopped the recruitment of ECAs and introduced the technician pathway. Whilst I understand the disappointment and frustration you may be feeling, please remember the overall situation the Trust is facing – hundreds of paramedic vacancies, the wrong skill mix on ambulances and patients waiting too long.

“I would accelerate the programme if I could but at the moment we need more staff on the frontline, not less. We will keep this under review however and if I can release more of you more quickly of course I will do.”

Following suggestions from staff, the Trust is also looking into a modular course which ECAs can voluntarily take in their own time and will have a further update on Need to Know soon.

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