The valuable role of the Paramedic Practitioner
As the world of recruitment in Primary Care continues to dwindle and proves even more difficult by the day, Practices are being encouraged to look at alternative solutions to fortify the ever-shrinking teams of clinicians and GPs.
It’s a guarantee that General Practice is changing and will continue to change. For better or for worse…debatable. As more and more surgeries face recruitment challenges, Primary Care recognizes the necessity of recruiting allied health professionals and evidence has shown the benefits roles such as Paramedic Practitioners, Physician Associates, Clinical Pharmacists, and many more can have.
As the primary care workforce has undergone major changes over recent years, so has the role of a Paramedic which has steadily evolved. With primary care services facing unprecedented challenges, (the demand for services continuing to sky-rocket), and the number of patients requiring complex case management within the community increasing it has resulted in recruitment and retention problems for GP Surgeries with the staffing crisis still in full swing.
But as a result, this has given rise to new opportunities for other clinicians to support the general practitioner (GP) role.
But why chose a paramedic?
Good question…keep reading to find out!
A paramedic is a highly qualified professional with a degree. They are first responders in many situations and work on the frontline. Paramedics are clinicians that can greatly support the health management of a community by running clinics, triaging and managing minor illnesses/minor ailments, and providing continuity for patients with complex health needs, performing both face-to-face and telephone consultations. They will be able to carry out assessments and the management of requests for same-day urgent home visits, as well performing home-visits should the practice require it.
Furthermore, Paramedics can go on to become Paramedic Practitioners, prescribing clinicians, (completing their independent prescribing qualification), and Advanced Clinical Practitioners by completing a masters in Advanced Clinical Practice! Thus, becoming even more of an asset to any GP surgery.
To make things even better, if you didn’t already know since April 2021, PCNs have had the ability to recruit Paramedic Practitioners as part of the ARRS. With a Paramedics ability to also undertake home visits and support the Enhanced Health in Care Homes Service, it’s no surprise that the role is becoming more popular across General Practice.
Subsequently, it does truly baffle me as to why up to 40% of the ARRS funding has gone unspent in each of the first two years of the scheme when practices can utilise the funding to employ brilliant roles such as paramedics! Perhaps due to the lack of communication between PCNs and the Government and lack of awareness of what the roles entail.
What is a Paramedic Practitioner?
A paramedic practitioner is a paramedic with additional education and training equipped for greater patient assessment and management skills. They can diagnose a wide range of conditions and treat many minor injuries and illnesses. This is more of a new role within primary care that has similarities with Nurse Practitioners. They have the ability to work within primary care, supporting the daily acute on the day team by assessing and triaging patients and providing definite treatment, including prescribing medication.
What is an Advanced Clinical/Paramedic Practitioner?
Advanced clinical practitioners (ACPs) are healthcare professionals (including nurses, paramedics and pharmacists), educated to master’s level or equivalent, with the skills and knowledge to allow them to expand their scope of practice to better meet the needs of patients and therefore handling more complex caseloads. An Advanced Paramedic Practitioner will work at the level of an advanced clinician embodying the four ACP pillars of clinical practice, which include leadership, management, education and research.
Benefits of a Paramedic to a Practice:
To highlight some benefits, not only is it the amount of travel time saved for the GP – around 30 minutes per home visit it’s the ability of the paramedics to:
- Prescribe, issue and review medications (given they are a prescriber)
- Perform and interpret ECGs.
- Undertake the collection of pathological specimens.
- Lead certain community services i.e. monitoring blood pressure and diabetes risk for elderly patients in sheltered housing
- Triage patients and see minor illness/acute on the day appointments
- Perform urgent and same-day home visits.
- Work as part of the PCN
- perform specialist health checks and reviews, undertake investigatory procedures, and perform a blood test.
Paramedic benefits to patients:
- Reduced waiting times
- Greater access to home visits
- Access to advice on general healthcare and self-management.
- Alternative to visiting A&E
Paramedics can instantly save a significant amount of time for GPs, i.e., home visits, whilst simultaneously giving practices the capacity to improve the skill mix within a team and making more efficient use of a multi-disciplinary workforce, improving access to patient care, and sharing the overall workload/demand.
As more paramedics transition into these roles within primary care, their knowledge and skills will undoubtedly change and grow, providing career development outside of the ambulance service hence paving way for a range of opportunities.
There are multiple benefits to employing allied health professionals for not only practices but clinicians themselves! So if you are a Paramedic or Practice looking to recruit a Paramedic, please feel free to get in touch with the team on 0113 350 1308.
Interested in our paramedic roles?
Click here to view our paramedic roles across the UK. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, feel free to contact us for a chat about what you’re looking for.