Ambulance technicians work as part of an emergency team alongside paramedics, responding to emergency calls. They treat patients at the scene of an accident or their home, and decide if they should be transferred to hospital or other medical facility for further treatment.
You could be:
- driving an ambulance to emergency calls, both 999 calls and doctors' urgent calls
- driving, if necessary, at speed and through red lights while constantly watching for road hazards
- assessing the patient’s condition and taking a basic medical history
- deciding how to move and treat ill or injured patients
- using equipment to help patients breathe or to support broken bones
- assisting paramedics with patient care, for example administering drugs
- making sure the patient is comfortable and secure at all times
- handing over the patient to the medical or nursing staff at the hospital, giving them a factual and accurate verbal report of the patient’s condition
- carrying out a daily inspection of the ambulance, ensuring equipment is in working order.
Ambulance staff who work for the NHS are paid on the Agenda for Change scales. The current pay scales are from April 2019. Trained technicians start on £21,519 a year, and after successful completion of the Diploma in Emergency Care Support this rises to Band 5, £24,670 to £30,742 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 shifts including evenings, nights and weekends.
- The work can be physically demanding, so you should have a good level of fitness.
- You may have to deal with distressing situations.
- 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 helmet or high visibility jacket.
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- For entry you would require a minimum of National 4 English and Maths.
- All applicants must pass the Scottish Ambulance Service entrance test including occupational fitness test, competency based interview and occupational health screening.
- You must have a full current Category C1 driving licence at least 6 weeks before you begin training. You must have no more than 3 penalty points.
- You must have some experience working with the public, preferably in a care environment.
- 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.
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What Does it Take?
You should be:
- able to get on 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
- adaptable and quick-thinking
- able to remain calm
- able to work well under pressure.
- You will be enrolled onto the bespoke clinical programme which will lead to a Diploma in Emergency Care Support, which is delivered in one of the Scottish Ambulance Service's regional training centres.
- Training is delivered over 16 to 24 months, which includes 750 hours of mentored training, completion of a portfolio and 42 weeks of placement at an ambulance station.
- The first 10 weeks will be based at one of the regional centres of the Scottish Ambulance Service, which includes a 4-week Emergency Response Driving Course.
- During the placement, you would complete a portfolio of learning to gain the Diploma in Emergency Care Support (SQCF Level 6).
- Once you pass the diploma, you immediately go on to complete the Diploma for Associate Ambulance Practitioners (SCQF Level 7).
- You could go on to complete the Diploma of Higher Education in Paramedic Practice to qualify as a paramedic.
- You might gain promotion to be an Accident and Emergency Team Leader or PTS (Patient Transfer Service) manager.
The Scottish Government has committed to training 1,000 new paramedics by 2021. The new paramedics will be recruited from existing ambulance technician staff, whose places will be filled by recruiting new technicians.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
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