Ambulance Service

Ambulance Service

There are over 350 roles in Healthcare alone,
so when considering all roles in Social Care as well,
you will be sure to find the best role for you.

The ambulance service is an emergency response service. The service has two main functions; responding to an emergency and a patient transport service. They do not just respond to 999 calls there are a number of roles in this service that provide support so that patients in an emergency receive the urgent care they need. This may not always be in a hospital setting and could be providing care at home or in the community. 

Types of roles available:

+Ambulance Care Assistant & Patient Transport Service (PTS) Driver

People working within this role are responsible for conveying people (such as the sick, vulnerable, elderly or disabled) to and from their routine, non-emergency appointments at hospitals, outpatient clinics and care centres. In addition to driving, they will often help patients in and out of the vehicles, including lifting them if needed, ensuring they are comfortable and safe for the journey and that they arrive in plenty of time. 

Based at a hospital or ambulance station, and covering the local area, in this role you may work as part of a two-person team, driving a standard car or a specially designed ambulance vehicle with features built for wheelchairs and similar. 

Typical entry requirements:

  • Requirements vary based on specific role and employer, as there are no set requirements for this role.
  • Most employers expect a full, manual driving license (though further driving qualifications may be required for specific vehicles, or dependent on when you passed your test) 
  • Demonstrable reasonable-high level of fitness 
  • GCSEs or equivalent qualifications are advantageous for entry-level posts or courses, or good levels of numeracy and literacy 
  • Experience of working with the elderly or disabled on a paid or voluntary basis is usually beneficial 
  • Once in post, you will usually be expected to complete training courses to cover first aid, patient skills, driving techniques etc. 

+Call Handler & Emergency Medical Dispatcher

Call handlers and emergency medical dispatchers work in ambulance control rooms as part of a team. In most ambulance trusts, call handlers and dispatchers are separate roles. Call handlers take essential details about a patient’s condition and location, logging information onto a computer system. 

In serious cases, they may have to talk a member of the public through an emergency procedure, such as clearing an obstruction from someone’s airway. Information is then passed onto an emergency medical dispatcher who uses a triage system to decide which staff and vehicles to dispatch based on the severity of the situation and resources available. The dispatchers also pass on essential information to the clinicians to ensure they are prepared when they reach the scene.   

Typical entry requirements: 

There are no set entry requirements to become an emergency call handler or medical dispatcher however, employers may expect: 

  • A good standard of literacy, numeracy and IT Skills. 
  • Some may ask for GCSEs, NVQs or equivalent. 
  • Evidence of work experience, such as working in a call centre or other customer service or healthcare role. 
  • You will also need to know about the values of the NHS Constitution.  

+Emergency Care Assistant (ECAs)

Emergency care assistants (ECAs) work with paramedics as part of emergency ambulance crews attending 999 calls. Under direct supervision of a paramedic, ECAs will carry out emergency care such as: 

  • Controlling severe bleeding 
  • Treating wounds and fractures 
  • Looking after patients with potential spinal injuries 
  • Using a defibrillator to resuscitate patients with heart failure 
  • Administer a range of different drugs 

ECAs are also responsible for checking their vehicle at the start and during each shift, to make sure they are clean, have fuel and are stocked with the right supplies. ECAs work with other members of the ambulance service, such as control room staff. They also work with doctors and staff from other emergency services such as fire rescue and police.  

Typical entry requirements: 

There are no set entry requirements to become an emergency care assistant however, you will need a full, manual driving licence to drive an ambulance. Employers may expect: 

  • A good standard of literacy, numeracy and IT Skills. 
  • Some may ask for GCSEs, NVQs or equivalent. 
  • Evidence of work experience, such as working with elderly or disabled people, either in paid employment or voluntary work.  
  • First aid work is also beneficial, such as volunteering with St. John Ambulance.  

+Paramedic

Paramedics work in a range of emergency and non-emergency situations, using their judgement and skills to quickly assess a patient’s condition and make life-saving decisions. They are trained to resuscitate and stabilise patients using sophisticated techniques, equipment and drugs such as defibrillators, spinal and traction splints, as well as administering oxygen. 

Paramedics are usually the senior member of a two-person team, with an emergency care assistant (see above) or technician to support them. Paramedics work closely with other healthcare teams in the community such as: GPs, occupational therapists, mental health teams and doctors and nursing in hospital emergency departments.  

Typical entry requirements: 

To become a paramedic, you will need an approved degree in paramedic science. This could be done through an apprenticeship degree. You will then need to apply to an ambulance service as a qualified paramedic and register with the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC).  

Entry requirements for an undergraduate course differ between universities, so it is important to check with them directly. However, they are typically: 

  • Two or three A levels, including a science, along with five GCSEs (grades 9-4/A-C), including English language, maths and science.  

Or equivalent qualifications: 

  • A BTEC, HND or HNC, including science 
  • A relevant NVQ 
  • A science or health-cased access course 
  • Equivalent Scottish or Irish qualifications.  

Degree apprenticeships are offered by some ambulance trusts. Entry requirements for these may differ depending on the trust, so it is important to check with them directly. However, they are typically: 

  • At least five GCSEs, grade 4/C or above, including English, maths and science.  

Or: 

  • Equivalent academic qualification with a high level of science or science content. 

Employers will also look for a good level of physical fitness and two year’s driving experience. The recruitment process can consist of several stages of interviews, fitness assessments and driving tasks.  

Where you could work in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough: