Higher education for paramedics—why?

This article is intended to provide an overview of the historical, current and future trends in paramedic education.Over the past 15 years, the training and education of technicians and paramedics has seen a shift from the more traditional approach initiated by the Institute of Health Care Development (IHCD) towards an academic route developed in association with Higher Education Institutes (HEIs). This shift reflects the curriculum framework put forward by the British Paramedic Association (BPA) which acts as an educational basis for future paramedic education. The framework does not exist in isolation and is influenced by the Health Professions Council's (HPC) Standards of Proficiency (2007) and Standards of Education and Training (2006) and the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Benchmarking Statements (2004). This BPA framework represents new ways of working for paramedics and technicians as front line practitioners. Essential transition from training to education is viewed as key for the future of ambulance service delivery. This paper endeavours to ask the question: Higher education for paramedics—why?

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