The 'Paramedic Practitioner' role has developed against a background of change in primary care service provision, apparently resulting in an increasing utilisation of emergency ambulance services. This presents opportunities to extend the scope of practice of paramedics and other health professionals in the diagnosis and management of patients with minor illnesses and injuries. Such patients commonly present via calls to traditional emergency numbers (999) or are referred from other unscheduled care agencies. Paramedic practitioners can reduce the number of patients inappropriately transported to hospital by approximately half, thus meeting an NHS aim of 'treating the right patients in the right place at the right time'. Other opportunities exist in the form of extended roles in critical care and the management of the chronically ill in the community. Currently, a number of pilot programmes exist but vary considerably with respect to type and duration of training, permitted scope of practice, and even the job title of these new practitioners. To be successful, these major changes in the role of ambulance professionals will require the paramedic profession to take leadership through its own professional body (the British Paramedic Association (BPA) in the establishment of defined standards of practice. A shift from vocational training to university-based education will be necessary to meet the intellectual demands of the autonomous management of these patient populations. Uniformity of job title and legal restrictions on its use are also required. These new opportunities for practice will offer a structured clinical career for ambulance professionals for the first time. The BPA has proposed that Emergency Medical Technicians will have a university Certificate; paramedics a university Diploma; paramedic practitioners an Honours Degree; and advanced paramedic practitioners a Masters Degree. Consultant paramedics holding PhDs will support their peers in furthering professional practice. The ambulance profession is coming of age
MPH, MBA, Dip IMC (RCSEd), PGCE, RN, SRPara, FASI, ILTM
Professor Malcolm Woollard is the Director of the Pre-hospital Care Research Unit in the James Cook University Hospital's Department of Academic Emergency Medicine and a Visiting Professor in Pre-hospital Emergency Care at the University of Teesside. He is a State Registered Paramedic and Nurse. He was formerly an Honorary Lecturer at the University of Wales Swansea and the University of Wales College of Medicine, where he led the establishment of the Pre-hospital Emergency Research Unit. Malcolm is an examiner for the Diploma in Immediate Medical Care of the Faculty of Pre-hospital Care, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, and for the University of Bath's Diploma/MSc in Sports and Exercise Medicine. He was previously the Deputy Chief Ambulance Officer of the South and East Wales Ambulance Trust. In 1998 Malcolm won a National Assembly for Wales research scholarship, completing a Masters degree in Public Health. Malcolm also has a Masters degree in Business Administration, a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education, and a Diploma in Immediate Care from the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. He is a Fellow of the Ambulance Service Institute and a member of the Institute of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education. Malcolm's research background includes projects investigating continuous ECG telemetry; telephone pre-arrival instructions for cardiac arrest; a comparison of simplified and standard CPR training; intravenous analgesia in the pre-hospital setting; changes in skill acquisition using a voice assisted CPR training manikin; stress and post-traumatic stress disorder in emergency ambulance staff; identification of emergency ambulance calls suitable for referral to appropriate alternative agencies; and evaluation of the Department of Health (England) public access defibrillation training programme.
Malcolm is currently reading for a PhD and a Masters in Education.
"The Role of the Paramedic Practitioner in the UK,"
Journal of Emergency Primary Health Care:
1, Article 11.
Available at: http://ro.ecu.edu.au/jephc/vol4/iss1/11