Should Ambulance Technicians be registered


Victoria Derbyshire screengrabOur Executive Chairman, Alan Howson, was interviewed on the Victoria Derbyshire show on 6th October, responding to questions raised in relation to the tragic case of Gary Page who died from a cardiac arrest hours after being attended to by an Ambulance Technician, who decided not to convey Mr Page to hospital. The full segment can be viewed using this link (thanks to Paul Jones).

It will be for the Courts to decide if there is any negligence in this case and where the responsibility lies. However, it does raise the issue of whether Ambulance Technicians should be registered, as Paramedics are required to do, with the ultimate sanction of being ‘struck-off’ if they are found guilty of malpractice.

Alan project managed the Petition for Paramedics to be a registered profession with the then Council for Professions Supplementary to Medicine (now the Health and Care Professions Council). As part of the discussions in the build up to the Petition, a request was made for there to be a two-stage registration process (Technician and Paramedic). This was declined by the CPSM on the grounds it would ‘muddy the waters and undermine the case for Paramedic registration’.

So, many years later we have an incident involving an Ambulance Technician employed by an independent ambulance provider, but who could equally have been employed by an NHS Ambulance Trust, whose practice has been called into question. This is probably not the first instance and whilst the individual is accountable in law, they have no such accountability to their ‘profession’, and are free to continue to practice.

The same is true of Paramedics who have been struck-off from the HCPC register, who could ‘downgrade’ to Technician and continue to practice albeit with a reduced scope of practice.

The Independent Ambulance Association supports the case for the registration of Ambulance Technicians and I welcome comments from professionals on LinkedIn to this proposal.

Do please drop the Association a line with any comments you have about this subject.