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A University of Plymouth postgraduate course that trains health professionals for intense critical care situations has become the first in the UK to be awarded independent accreditation.

The Advanced Critical Care Practitioner (ACCP) programme – which trains nurses and allied health professionals to make advanced clinical decisions for patients in life-threatening situations, and manage critically ill patients – has been accredited by the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine (FICM).

The FICM, affiliated with the Royal College of Anaesthetists, has decided to award accreditation to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) after previously advising on the curricula of the ACCP programmes around the UK.

Many intensive care units employ ACCPs, and recent Intensive Care Society guidelines support that ACCPs are now forming an integral part of the intensive care workforce. The ACCP programme teaches and develops advanced skills, involving undertaking a comprehensive assessment to identify potential diagnosis, utilising multiple technical skills to enhance care delivery, and providing clinical leadership to support the intensive care workforce.

The ACCP programme is a postgraduate diploma with a final-year optional master’s award. The University of Plymouth trains professionals for the award all over the UK, from Hull to Birmingham and Swansea to Bournemouth.

Rachel Pascoe, ACCP programme lead at the University of Plymouth, said: 

“It’s fantastic to receive this accreditation, and to be the first in the UK is a real honour. It shows that our teaching is exactly what’s required to train the critical care workforce of the future. An Advanced Critical Care Practitioner might not be a role well recognised among the general public, but their presence in the intensive care unit is vital, as they can make informed decisions about the care and management of critically ill patients.

“It’s a really challenging but very rewarding programme, and we’re incredibly proud of all of the health professionals who undertake it.”

Dr Sam Waddy, Consultant in Acute Medicine and Intensive Care at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust and Clinical Director of the programme, added:

“It has been a real pleasure to develop this programme with the University in order to provide this valuable career pathway that is of huge benefit to patients. It has enabled safer staffing of many of our units in the South West and beyond as well as ensuring career progression for some of our most talented staff. It is great to have the programme recognised by FICM accreditation.”

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