A quick guide to what the clinical roles actually mean in the GB-EMS Group.
We often hear both clients and prospective employees asking what the different levels of medical personnel actually mean; Therefore in this short guide we will explain what each level is and what it actually means that member of staff can deal with. We make the point that in some cases these can differ slightly between different organisations across the industry, but on the whole, the GB-EMS skill sets are either on par with, or higher than the national average across the industry.
First Aider - This is most basic skill set we operate. Here the staff will hold at least a regulated Level 3 Qualification in "First Aid At Work" or a recognised equivalent. These staff can deal with the foundation level of illnesses and treatments needed for a patient. Although able to handle emergency situations, only the most basic of skills can be used. First aiders are fantastic for initial assessments and stabilising a patient before enhanced care arrives. We use first aiders at the vast majority of events we cover as they can be very useful in dealing with minor injuries and illnesses, keeping other high level clinicians available for more serious cases.
Ambulance Care Assistant - Although clinically the same as a first aider, an Ambulance Care Assistant (ACA) has a larger skill base as they are often crew on ambulances in our patient transport service. ACA’’s are able to move a patients to and from hospitals in non urgent circumstances, and understand the varying needs and challenges patients that use this service have.
First Responder - Sometimes referred to as a "First Person on Scene", these members of staff have slightly more advanced skills than that of a first aider. With the ability to administer emergency oxygen and pain relief and provide more complex procedures like spinal immobilisation, patient observations and more enhanced airway management skills. First responders are a great asset both in medical centres and as responding resources. Our cycle response units are always staffed by someone of "First Responder" level or higher, and these staff we would expect to hold a qualification like the Level 3 First Response Emergency Care or First Person on Scene - Intermediate.
Emergency Care Assistant - Although the same clinical qualification as a First Responder, these members of staff will also hold a regulated qualification in Emergency (Blue Light) Driving and be trained in the use of the equipment on an emergency ambulance and to assist a more advanced clinician in emergency situations. ECA’s will be commonly seen on HDU, ICU and 999 ambulances and will support a Technician or Paramedic in treating and transferring a critical ill patient. ECA’s are a fantastic asset to have as they free up clinicians to be able to concentrate on treating the patient while they manage the logistics of the incident.
Emergency Medical Technician - The foundation of becoming a clinician. An EMT is the foundation level of more enhanced patient care and a higher clinical skill set. An EMT will have a much broader understanding of medical and traumatic conditions than that of a first aider or responder and be able to manage a larger range of emergency issues. EMT’s also are the beginning step for medication provisions as they begin to carry and administer a wider array of emergency medications for patients. We would expect an EMT to hold a Level 4 Qualification in First Response Emergency Care or equivalent. They should not be confused with "Ambulance Technicians", which brings us on nicely to..
Ambulance Technician - Now in some areas, slowly transitioning to a new title of Associate Ambulance Practitioner, Ambulance Technicians are seen as a step below "Paramedic". Ambulance Technicians will understand the vast majority of medical conditions and have a much wider variety of enhanced skills and a wider selection of emergency medication provisions than those other skill sets above. Ambulance Technicians are very diverse and are an invaluable asset as both attendants on emergency ambulances and as clinicians in medical centres or first aid points. We would expect our ambulance technicians to hold either an IHCD Ambulance Technician Qualification or, a Level 5 Qualification in First Response Emergency Care or a recognised equivalent. Ambulance Technicians (and EMT's) to tend to form the backbone of GB-EMS Event Medical Cover and High Dependency Ambulance Service clinical grades.
Paramedic - Paramedics are registered individuals with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and are extremely valuable clinicians within the ambulance service. Paramedics are used in every part of our operations and are invaluable assets in any emergency situation. They offer an extended range of clinical knowledge and skills and further medications. Paramedics often become the clinical leads at some of our more involved events and will often be responsible for dealing with the most unwell patients in a given situation.
Doctors and Nurses - Where required, GB-EMS utilise the skills of Doctors and Nurses, normally either within a Medical Centre setting or where risk assessments (and client requirements) dictate that these healthcare professionals should be present. These members of our team are also used within the Ambulance Transport service, when their specialist skills are required to safely and appropriate transport a patient.
Medic - Now, this is a term we try not to use, if you thought the terms above were a little ambiguous, this is a biggie.. In some organisations, a medic can be a basic first aider, in others, a medic is a Doctor, there is no hard and fast rule, which usually means, you can't guarantee what you're getting when you request one. We do try to keep all our crew skill levels as clear and transparent as possible and remove as much ambiguity as possible, so you'll hardly ever see us use the term "Medic" to describe our team.