The Pre-Hospital Critical Care/Retrieval and Transfer degree saw the Devon Air Ambulance Trust (DAAT) pick up an award for innovation at the Association of Air Ambulances’ Awards of Excellence.
The course began in September 2015 and is thought to be the first of its kind in the world – making paramedic aircrew among the highest qualified in the profession. The three-year degree is being led by Amanda Denton, Postgraduate Programme Lead, and Peter Allum, Lecturer in Paramedicine, with the course funded by DAAT.
Studying for a minimum of ten hours a week, the first tranche of 20 paramedics will gain this new qualification and will be encouraged to contribute to advancing the body of knowledge underpinning pre-hospital critical care through continued research and further study.
“The idea for this degree was only formulated in January 2015 and it is a testament to the commitment of everyone involved in the collaboration that the course is up and running within a year. We have created a platform for personal, academic and practical advancement in this highly specialised area and it has already caught the attention of the wider profession with paramedics from several other air ambulance services joining the course.
"We are in no doubt that we have developed a model of paramedic education that will lead the way in clinical development for air ambulance services and create a nationally recognised centre of excellence in pre-hospital critical care. I must congratulate DAAT for the vision in identifying the need for this degree and the courage to fund it. It will help futureproof the clinical work of air ambulance services everywhere.”
Darren Goodwin, DAAT Clinical Support Officer and paramedic, said:
“The world of pre-hospital emergency medicine is moving very quickly with numerous clinical papers published each month, suggesting new and innovative procedures and practices. The aim of this programme is to equip already highly experienced paramedics with the knowledge to appraise, and where necessary challenge, current thinking and bring their own experience to bear in advancing clinical practice.
"There are existing ‘off-the-shelf’ courses but we wanted to design a course that addressed the specific needs identified by DAAT, and one that addresses the application of theory in practice while benefitting from the very real experiences of paramedics in action. This programme will not only help practitioners with their decision-making and enhance the quality of critical care; it will help Devon Air Ambulance paramedics to become genuine leaders in their field and to make real and positive changes to best practice.”