Student paramedic queries

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A message to student paramedics from CEO Robert Morton

Colleagues, over the last couple of weeks, I have met and been contacted by many students who have raised a number of issues with me. Having been in the service for just under a month now, it is clear that the Trust embarked on a massive recruitment and training programme very rapidly; in effect going from very limited recruitment and training to having the biggest training and recruitment programme in the country. The need to ramp up the recruitment and training so quickly was as the Trust simply didn’t have enough frontline staff, especially paramedics. 

Unfortunately, the consequence of implementing this so quickly is that the Trust did not have time to put in place all the preparations it would have liked to, and therefore some elements had to be developed and implemented whilst the programme was running. Asking the training team to balance the need to keep recruitment and training running at full steam against the development needs required for the organisation, for staff and for students was a really difficult task. The Trust simply was not ready for such a large training programme, and didn’t invest enough in the training team to support them to do the job they want to do.

Therefore, one of my top priorities is to work with you, the executive and training team on how we can resolve these issues and start moving forwards positively, where training, education and development is at the core of our service.

Amongst these issues, a number of students have contacted me who have failed assessments at different stages of the programme. Some are asking me to intervene in some way. This is completely understandable as the loss of employment or the failure to follow one's dream to be a paramedic is frightening for those involved. Uncertainty is stressful, particularly when it is about your career.

The Trust has obviously supported these individuals to pursue their goal and achieve their potential. Equally, each of the individuals involved has given it their best.  However, in any academic endeavour, the reality is not everyone will pass all of the assessments and qualify as a paramedic. This is not unique to any profession but common to all.

The Trust aspires to be a supportive employer and in this regard, we do everything possible, without compromising the standards to be achieved, to assist students to achieve their goals. It is for this reason that students can repeat a failed assessment or appeal a decision as set out in the student handbook.

The reason that protecting the integrity of these standards is so important is that ultimately these standards will directly influence the quality of the care our patients receive. 

I am pleased that the majority of you are moving successfully through the programme. We will continue to improve how we further support our students, particularly with University requirements, and our Training and Education Team are working hard, right now, to improve our processes and support.

Every student can be assured of our full support, compassion and tolerance when they struggle with assessments. However, you must pass the programme to join us as a qualified paramedic, and one that we would trust to treat our loved ones in their time of need.

The Trust has, and will continue to, consider options for some students who are unable to complete the student paramedic programme but are able to make a positive contribution in a different patient care role. Those options can only be considered by following the established processes in place.

I wish all you all every success with your studies and assessments.


Robert Morton, Chief Executive


An SP update was published last week about our workshops and uni accreditation. You can read it here.

Published 17th September, 2015

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