The University of Stirling has launched a new degree programme that will boost training opportunities for budding paramedics and enhance patient care.
Working alongside NHS Education for Scotland (NES) and the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS), Stirling will deliver the BSc Paramedic Science programme across NHS Forth Valley, Fife and Tayside.
The launch of the course is an important milestone for the University’s Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, which already offers a BSc Professional Practice (Paramedical Science) and is recognised internationally for its research into out-of-hospital care.
Dr Ashley Shepherd, Associate Professor, is Head of Health Sciences at Stirling. She said: “The University is delighted to be launching this new course, which reflects the growing importance of paramedics to healthcare in Scotland.
“Given our expertise in paramedic education and research, we are ideally placed to deliver this new contract – and it is an exciting opportunity to continue the Faculty’s close partnership with the NHS and the Scottish Ambulance Service.”
The University expects around 56 students to begin the new course in September 2020.
Robert Gordon University, Queen Margaret University, Glasgow Caledonian University, and the University of the West of Scotland will deliver the course in other parts of the country, as part of an initiative to give students access to new, enhanced and more localised opportunities.
Currently, students study for a Diploma in Paramedic Practice at the Scottish Ambulance Academy to become a paramedic and this course will continue to run to 2021. Staff will continue to be recruited and trained at the Academy for other positions within the service, including ambulance technicians and ambulance care assistants. Ambulance technicians will also be able to study for the degree on a part time basis whilst they continue to work for the Service.
Dr Ashley Shepherd said that the new course reflects the growing importance of paramedics to healthcare in Scotland.
Announcing the new programme, Caroline Lamb, NES Chief Executive, said: “Paramedics are an increasingly important part of the mix of health and social care professionals. They’re not only a key profession in the ambulance service, but also work across all the other NHS boards as well, helping people with a range of conditions.
“Over the years, their educational opportunities have steadily expanded to match their growing role. Expanding their training to degree-level programmes reflects the reality of what they can expect to face in their daily roles, and will provide them not only with these skills, but wider professional opportunities as well.”
Pauline Howie, Chief Executive of the Scottish Ambulance Service said: “We are absolutely delighted to work in partnership with these universities – it is exciting to know they will be educating new generations of paramedics who will enter the workforce armed with the latest skills and trained to the highest standards.
“These changes not only increase our capacity for training more paramedics, helping us meet predictions for future demands of patients, but they support the delivery of integrated health and social care.”