We have teamed up with the University of East Anglia to help develop the careers of aspiring paramedics.

As the provider of NHS 111 and out of hours GP services in Norfolk, we are supporting second-year students from the University of East Anglia’s (UEA) student paramedic course by providing placements within our NHS 111 call centre and out of hours operations.

The initiative started in November 2017 and a total of six students have already started a placement. 

Observation shifts

Students will work a full week, carrying out shadowing and observation shifts alongside trained clinicians and GPs within both the NHS 111 contact centre and out of hours service. The students will learn about how primary care services are provided out of hours, and how the NHS 111 service can reduce the amount of people who visit accident and emergency centres at hospital. 

Once the first cohort of nine students have completed their placement, a second set will join in February 2018.

A similar scheme is already underway to provide fifth year medical students at the university with a placement within the organisation to understand the work of NHS 111 and out of hours provision.

Valuable skill set

Craig Shorten, Clinical Lead for IC24 in Norfolk and Waveney, said: ‘This is a great opportunity for us to contribute to the careers of student paramedics in the area, and educate them in the live environment about how out of hours primary care works. Paramedics are generally associated with working for the ambulance service. However, across our organisation we have been recruiting paramedics into various roles, from telephone care to prison healthcare and they bring a valuable skill set. Hopefully these students will have really valuable placements with us and will help them to understand the value that paramedics can offer in out of hours care.’

David Shepherd, Lecturer Paramedic Sciences, UEA, said: ‘Paramedic science students at UEA are provided with a range of placement opportunities outside of the ambulance service. This gives them a broad understanding of how the paramedics can integrate with the wider NHS.  When on ambulance placements student paramedics will often attend patients referred to the ambulance service by the NHS 111 services, so it is important for them to understand how and why such referrals are passed to ambulance crews. Through the UEA's collaboration with IC24, we are delighted to be able to offer our students a bespoke and focused learning experience which allows them to fully understand how the 111 call centre works and how the out of hours service provides primary and urgent care to service users across the local area.’

If the new placement scheme is successful then the two organisations will look at the potential for specialist paramedics to carry out final practical shifts.