This section is to enable general practice to understand the role of paramedics, how they work, where they fit into general practice and their scope of practice. Paramedics have many complementary skills to support primary care.
The Human Medicines (Amendment) Regulations 2018 means that as of 1st April 2018 paramedics working at an advanced level of clinical practice can become independent prescribers. Paramedics are annotated on the HCPC register as an independent prescriber after successful completion of an HCPC-approved independent prescribing programme.
Paramedics new to primary and urgent care will be able to see the range of patients that present to general practice and urgent care settings, but will initially need more supervision and support. The level of supervision and support will lessen as the paramedic grows in confidence, knowledge, skills and experience, but a good foundation of support is vital to ensure their safety in this new practice setting.
Paramedics have undergone a degree level programme in Paramedic science and will be registered (but not regulated) with the HCPC. Paramedic Practitioners or Specialist Paramedics have undergone additional professional development. For example to become a Paramedic Practitioner they will have undergone an additional 18 months development which will include Primary Care (and will have achieved competence in 15 OSCI assessments).
An advanced Paramedic will have undergone a Masters Degree level of further professional development which includes the four pillars of Advanced Practice (Clinical Practice, Facilitating Learning, Leadership, and Evidence, Research and Development).
Paramedics working in primary and urgent care can undertake a variety of roles. By virtue of their background as generalists, they can competently use the medical/biopsychosocial model to assess, examine, treat and manage patients of all age ranges with a variety of acute undifferentiated and chronic conditions. Paramedics can triage patients, carry out telephone consultations, undertake face-to-face consultations, carry out home visits (including residential and nursing homes) as well as request, review and act on laboratory results.
Paramedics are able to refer to specialist services or certain investigations as appropriate. Paramedics can see patients presenting with acute or urgent (same-day) problems, as well as offering pre-booked and routine appointments. Paramedics are also able to mentor and supervise students from a range of health and social care backgrounds.
Further information about the roles paramedics can play in general practice is available here.