Concern over use of student paramedics on frontline ambulances

USING inexperienced student paramedics on frontline ambulances in Comet country is being considered due to operational pressures , it has emerged. A spokesman for The East of England Ambulance Trust said: This may occur in the near future due to extreme

USING inexperienced student paramedics on frontline ambulances in Comet country is being considered due to "operational pressures", it has emerged.

A spokesman for The East of England Ambulance Trust said: "This may occur in the near future due to extreme operational pressures.

"If this occurs, at no time will patient safety be put at risk as the students will be assisting experienced paramedics at all time."

But the ambulance service union, UNISON, has slammed the idea and demanded an immediate inquiry into the use of student paramedics in other areas of the East of England one weekend last month.


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A spokesman for UNISON said the decision to use unqualified paramedics had "stunned" ambulance staff across the region, and some students had refused to take the risk.

He said: "A number of senior managers also objected to the move in the strongest possible terms, even refusing to work with the inexperienced students."

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He added: "That weekend was not in any way exceptional and if the Trust cannot put qualified crews on ambulances now, then very shortly, with the onset of summer pressures and the swine flu pandemic, the service will simply not cope.

"The union simply cannot understand why, after three years and the injection of millions of pounds, the Trust is in such disarray."

UNISON has said the fact the Trust has re-advertised all its top posts is a "clear indication that the Trust is in serious difficulty" and highlights the need for a full inquiry.

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