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 collect and drop off patients attending outpatient clinics and day care units.
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
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 2022. Ambulance care assistants start on £17,704 a year, and after a 20-week training period move to Band 3, £23,914 to £25,808 a year.
Your base would be the ambulance station or hospital but you would spend most of your time in an ambulance.
You would work 5 out of 7 days including weekends.
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 would wear a uniform, or sometimes other protective clothing such as a high visibility jacket.
There are no formal entry requirements, however National 4 English and Maths are preferred.
All applicants must pass the Scottish Ambulance Service entrance test, including an occupational fitness test and occupational health screening.
You must have a full current UK driving licence including category D1 class. You must have no more than 3 penalty points.
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 criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need.
Job vacancies appear on the myjobscotland 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.
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
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 lasts around 4 months, and begins with a 4-week clinical programme. This involves 3 weeks of classroom training and a one-week driving programme.
Classroom training includes manual handling, first aid, patient care and advanced safe driving techniques.
You would receive additional training if you are working with priority patients such as cancer, cardiology, mental health or renal patients.
When you complete the programme, you gain the Certificate for Ambulance Patient Care: Non-urgent Care Services at SCQF Level 6.
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.