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Post Graduate Curriculum Guidance

Paramedics became registered health care professionals just 16 years ago following a short, but notable history of service to the communities of the United Kingdom, primarily in the form of ambulance personnel with a variety of extended skills. Since the year 2000, rapid progress has been made in evolving the paramedic profession, with a number of milestones achieved by the College of Paramedics. These include development of the Paramedic Curriculum Guidance and more recently the Post Registration Paramedic Career Framework. Today sees the launch of the latest landmark publication by the College, the Paramedic Post-Graduate Curriculum Guidance. This guidance document once again emphasises the importance of education and training through systems that support patient safety whilst enabling continued professional growth within the context of ever changing demands, pressures and expectations as we strive to provide the very best care for the patients we serve.

Publication of the original Paramedic Curriculum Guidance, a document that is now in its third edition, brought together many strands of progress and development across the profession, providing a set of standards that could be used as a reference point for all; including paramedics, educational providers, patients, employers, policy makers and regulators as to what could be described as the ‘DNA’ of a paramedic. The Post Registration  Paramedic Career Framework has also proved to be a success, acting as a point of reference and as a road map for career development. This has provided a wide range of stakeholders with a valuable tool in helping to understand the role of the paramedic and the importance of the profession. Such documents are incredibly important in promoting a shared understanding, across all stakeholder groups, as to the contribution currently made by paramedics to society and promoting a vision as to how paramedics are key to helping shape the health care landscape of the future.  The publications also act as a key resource for paramedics themselves in clarifying standards and expectations around education and development, and providing a point of reference and structure for considering on-going career and professional development.

The clinical and professional practice of paramedics is evolving in response to constant and increasingly complex demands. Financial pressures are ever present, with the accompanying risk of compromised quality and safety. The production of this guidance for the education and development of paramedics throughout their career, and which underpins further professionalisation of the paramedic profession could not be more timely. It clearly articulates the high standards of education and development expected for post-graduate, specialist, advanced and consultant level paramedic practice. This is irrespective of the organisation and environment in which the paramedic may be employed, or the area of health care in which they may be operating, and fully commensurate with what would be expected to be available for all other health care professionals. Education and development opportunities, when adequately resourced, delivered and assured contribute to the provision of high quality, safe and effective care, along with the continuous development of paramedic practice and the profession overall.
In summary, this document seeks to encourage common sense, translated into common practice and universal opportunities for paramedics to reach their full potential as individual practitioners and as members of the wider health care team.

Professor Andy Newton, QAM FCPara
Chair of the College of Paramedics
February 2017