HC Deb 11 February 2004 vol 417 cc1533-4W
Dr. Murrison

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the need for regulation of private ambulance services to reflect practice in the NHS. [153748]

Ms Rosie Winterton

We have encouraged self-regulation of private ambulance services and have made it clear to national health service organisations that, if they are using private ambulance companies, they must satisfy themselves that the organisation has suitably trained staff for the task and conforms to legal and other relevant standards.

The use of private ambulance services in the NHS is covered by a code of practice issued in 1993 (EL(93)109).

Dr. Murrison

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the training requirements are for(a) paramedics and (b) ambulance technicians in (i) the NHS and (ii) private ambulance services. [153749]

Ms Rosie Winterton

Although training courses are delivered locally, paramedics and technicians employed by national health service ambulance services are trained in accordance with a national syllabus administered on behalf of the Department by the Ambulance Service Association and based on clinical advice from the Joint Royal Colleges Ambulance Liaison Committee.

To qualify, they are also required to sit nationally set examinations with awards administered by Edexel on behalf of the Ambulance Service Association.

To practise, paramedics have additionally to register and meet standards approved by the Health Professions Council.

Training in private ambulance services is a matter for each individual employer. Each has a general duty to ensure that its staff are suitably qualified and trained in order to provide the level of care which they are required to deliver. If private ambulance services are employed by the NHS, guidance to trusts requires that they satisfy themselves that the contractor's staff are suitably trained and experienced.

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