Ambulance care assistants work as part of a team providing care and safe transport for patients in non-emergency situations on the Patient Transport Service (PTS). They may sometimes also work on the urgent tier unit, who respond to emergency calls.
You could be:
- collecting patients from their homes, assisting them whenever necessary
- driving the patients to pre-arranged hospital and clinic appointments
- transferring patients from one hospital to another
- making sure that patients are comfortable and secure at all times
- cleaning the ambulance, making sure all patient equipment is working and restocking supplies
- carrying out a daily inspection of the ambulance, checking tyres, petrol, oil and water
- if working on urgent tier, accompanying a qualified technician or paramedic on an emergency call
- administering first aid when required, up to level of training received
- completing a patient report form if oxygen or first aid was administered during an emergency call.
Ambulance staff who work for the NHS are paid on the Agenda for Change scales. The current pay scales are from April 2017. Ambulance care assistants start on £15,545 a year, and after a 20-week probationary period move to Band 3, £17,760 to £20,727 a year.
- Your base would be the ambulance station or hospital but you would spend most of your time in an ambulance.
- You may have to work evenings, weekends and nights.
- The work can be physically demanding, so you should have a good level of fitness.
- You have to go out in all weathers and may cover a large geographical area.
- You may have to deal with distressing situations.
- You would wear a uniform, or sometimes other protective clothing such as helmet or high visibility jacket.
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- There are no formal entry requirements, however 3 subjects at National 4 and 5, including English and Maths is recommended.
- All applicants must pass the Scottish Ambulance Service entrance test, including a retention and recall test, fitness test and driving assessment.
- You must have a full current UK driving licence, including categories C1 and D1.
- Experience in a driving job is useful.
- Some colleges offer courses that prepare you for a career in the uniformed and emergency services. You do not need any formal entry requirements for these courses.
- You will require a satisfactory PVG (Protecting Vulnerable Groups) check to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details.
Job vacancies appear on the My Job Scotland website, the local press, in Jobcentre Plus offices and on the Universal Jobmatch website. Most ambulance work is with the NHS, but there are also jobs with the armed services. There are some private ambulance companies around the UK including one or two in Scotland.
Predicted Employment in Scotland
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What Does it Take?
You should be:
- able to get on with and communicate with people from all backgrounds and of all ages
- patient and understanding – you will be dealing with patients who may be distressed or in pain
- reliable and responsible
- able to work well in a team as well as able to work unsupervised
- adaptable and quick-thinking
- able to make decisions and solve problems
- able to work well under pressure
- well organised and able to follow a schedule.
- Training takes place at the Scottish Ambulance Academy in Glasgow (based within the School of Health at Glasgow Caledonian University).
- You must complete the prescribed training which is a 4-week ACA course and involves a 1-week driving course.
- Ambulance care assistants dealing with emergency calls (urgent tier) are required to undertake a 3-week driving course to accident and emergency standard.
- You will learn manual handling, first aid, basic patient skills and safe driving techniques.
- You would receive additional training if you are working with priority patients such as cancer, cardiology, mental health or renal patients.
- An ambulance care assistant can undertake further training to become an ambulance technician.
- With experience and further training, you could then apply for a student paramedic position.
- You might gain promotion to supervisor level as PTS team leader.
The location of the Scottish Ambulance Academy allows ambulance staff to have the opportunity to train alongside police and fire service colleagues, for example, in simulated road traffic collisions.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
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