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Diploma in Primary and Urgent Care

Following the Board of Trustees acceptance in 2017 of the offer from the South East Coast Ambulance Service for the intellectual property rights to their Specialist Paramedic examination, the College of Paramedics have successfully delivered the DIP PUC examinations on an bi-annual basis, with the exams currently taking place in May and October each year.

Why has the College of Paramedics now taken over the exam?
It is important that the College, in its role representing the profession, makes appropriate statements and employs specific processes that supports its members and the wider professional group to function safely and effectively in these roles. The examination and associated work-place based assessments were reviewed by the College and seen as a ready-made process that would enable it to in part do this with limited financial investment.

Why is the College of Paramedics awarding a diploma?
The College established the Faculty Examination Assessment Committee (FEAC) to oversee the implementation of examination assessments and further develop the examination award.

In accordance with the College’ Articles of Association, article 5.13 states the College has the power;

‘to establish scholarships, grants, awards, diplomas, qualifications and post nominals in connection with the profession’
Therefore, the College’s award for the examinations will be the Diploma in Primary and Urgent Care

The College believes that establishing and maintaining the status and pedigree of this assessment can only be achieved by awarding it sufficient importance and merit.

Why is this important for the profession?
Professional examinations such as these are common across higher professional groups and important for benchmarking clinical practice and standards. This benchmarking provides a level of governance by assuring employers, employees, patients and insurers that clinical practitioners have reached required standards to practice in an environment that presents many challenges including uncertainty and ambiguity.

What does the examination consist of?
The examination comprises of triangulated assessment which includes;

1. A period of Work-Place Based Assessment (WPBA). It is expected that applicants would have completed an appropriate period of WPBA prior to applying to undertake the examination;
2. 15 x 10 minute Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs), and,
3. A three hour Applied Knowledge Test (AKT) paper, formed of 150 single best answer (SBA) questions. 

The overall assessment process uses an established triangulated approach to assessment whereby the WPBA tests ‘performance’ and the examination elements tests ‘competence’. The competence elements of assessment tests: clinical skills; communication and attitudes across a broad spectrum of clinical presentations, in the OSCEs and application / integration of knowledge via the AKT single best answer questions. These competence assessments are framed by decision making in the context of risk stratification, rather than risk avoidance.

Who is the examination for?
The examination was originally developed for paramedics working as paramedic practitioners. The College examination is now for multi-professional practitioners at ‘specialist’ level of practice and who work in primary and urgent care. The examination assessment provides the core entry standard required to use the term specialist by providing an assessment that through its process is a defensible governance standard on which practice is recognised and can grow.

The DIP PUC entry Eligibility Criteria for potential applicants can be found in Appendix A of the Application Form. 

What about existing specialists or advanced practitioners?
Where practitioners are established and already working in the primary or urgent care environment the College developed a process of sponsorship whereby an employer or an appropriate clinical supervisor signs a declaration stating that WPBA standards have been met and maintained. This then enables existing specialist or advanced practitioners to apply for and undertake the examination.

2020 College Examination dates
If you are interested in undertaking the DIP PUC exams in May or October 2020, please email yvonne.cooze@collegeofparamedics.co.uk to be added to the relevant waiting list. Exam dates for May and October 2020 have not yet been set by the Examination Committee.

How to apply?
Download and complete the application form, ensuring it is submitted along with all the required supporting evidence to validate your eligibility, prior to the application closing date stated above. (Note: where no closing date is stated above, applications are therefore currently closed).

Enquiries
Any enquiries regarding the exam, please e-mail: yvonne.cooze@collegeofparamedics.co.uk

Future development and interest?
The College is currently working to establish a grandparenting process, which will enable those paramedics who undertook and successfully completed the Specialist Paramedic triangulated assessment via SECAmb / SWASFT to apply for the College of Paramedics Diploma in Primary and Urgent Care certificate.  Further details will be added as they become available.