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HSE to hire community paramedics

Four new full-time community paramedics are being sought to work in Inishowen, Co Donegal, and in counties Cavan and Monaghan.

The paramedics will assess and treat low-acuity illness and injuries and will respond in instances where an emergency ambulance is not available due to the absence of staff, according to the HSE. A tender process is underway for the provision of training.

“The Community Paramedic Programme will support existing health services by providing integrated health services in partnership with other health professionals,” a HSE spokesperson told the Medical Independent (MI). 

“The role will include a clinical assessment and treatment of low-acuity illness and injury and arrange for appropriate follow-up to community-based services where appropriate.  The role also includes work in the areas of health promotion, wellness and mental health.”

Patients will be assessed and treated in a community setting without ambulance transport to an emergency department (ED), where appropriate.

Community paramedics, who will be registered advanced paramedics, will refer patients for follow-up to community services, where applicable.

The programme involves a partnership between the National Ambulance Service (NAS), the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) and the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS). It is funded as part of an acute services project secured by cross-border group Co-operation and Working Together (CAWT).

The acute services project aims to “create innovative cross-border approaches to the assessment and treatment of patients, which will incorporate new patient pathways and enable optimal utilisation of human, financial and physical resources,” according to the job specification details.

Further posts under the project will be advertised in the future.

Ms Arlene Fitzsimons, Operations Manager at out-of-hours GP co-op NEDOC, is in favour of the concept of community paramedics.

“I would have to commend it as an idea. As more GPs retire, there are fewer GPs to manage patient care. Home visits are a necessary element of primary care but increasingly difficult to manage, given the pressure GPs are under in their practice. Providing a home visit system via paramedics is a diversity of care that is welcome,” she remarked. 

  1. David B Kelly on August 11, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    As pre hospital care medics working in the field all of us can only wish this new initiate well and maybe somewhere down the road see its extension country wide.
    If in reality it see more people been treated and referred then it has to be advantageous. The current situation cannot be maintained and one wonders what needs to be done to educate people and to try and get them to change their thinking with regard to current day pre hospital care and the use of both the ambulance service and the emergency deptartments.. No it is not a taxi service, no the staff are not ambulance drivers but are highly trained and well educated staff many with third level degrees. No the ED staff nurses and doctors do not want to see you in their deptartment with a toothache or back pain which you have had for two years but cannot sleeep. No you won’t be seen quicker because you rang an ambulance. Maybe if your worried go see your GP . Of course also of relevance that would be most helpful to us all is if the GP could see the patient when a family or patients rings instead of the easy option of just telling someone ” ring for an ambulance ” Recently told to my my face by the doctor ” I only rang you to use you as a taxi” We have a long way to get to educate not only Joe public but some of our professional colleagues.
    The introduction of this new scheme is surely not to replace GP even if there are fewer of them but hopefully will be to compliment and provide a bettter pre hospital care service for those that DO NOT need to attend at the EDs.
    Finally on the above article which appears in today’s Irish Independent ( Dean Gray) one paragraph which is in the paper and I quote the HSE ” the paramedics will respond where an emergency ambulance is not available due to the absence of staff”
    A disgraceful comment by an employer. The ambulance service the length and breath of the country is short of emergency vehicles and there are staff vacancies in every station . Rather than employ staff and give the many many non roster staff permanent positions on rosters management would rather pay thousand and thousands of Euro on overtime on a daily and weekly basis in order to try and provide cover. While we all hope this new scheme will take off and work well and I wish my colleagues who take up the posts every success, it has absolutely nothing to do with staff absence but no doubt when the individuals who get this new posts are appointed their positions at their stations will be left unfilled and the mayhem will just continue. What we have at the minute is a third world service that is a shambles and a management structure and system that are a completely failure.
    The saving grace for our patients despite all this is that we have such a hard working dedicated and professional group of EMT , Paramedics , and Advanced Paramedics who give 100 % every shift and every day 365 days of the year.

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