HSE opens new Ambulance Training College

March 25th 2008

The HSE has this week announced the opening of a new campus of the National Ambulance Service College with 32 new recruits embarking on a programme that will culminate in their graduation as Paramedics at the end of 2009.

Based in Ballinasloe, Co Galway, the new facility is an expansion of the Dublin based National Ambulance Service College which has been training a range of personnel including Emergency Medical Technicians, Paramedics and Advanced Paramedics since 1986. With a capital investment of €250,000, the new Galway campus is staffed by a team led by Ambulance Educator Shane Knox and a team that includes lecturers and trainers from the Dublin College.

The HSE took the decision to open the new campus to increase the number of new recruits nationally as it continues to develop the National Ambulance Service. Having embarked on a highly successful recruitment campaign last year the HSE is committed to the ongoing recruitment and training of personnel across the country.

Dublin Campus
The Dublin campus of the National Ambulance Service College has continued to expand its activities in recent years, developing as an academic centre in partnership with University College Dublin, delivering a variety of courses that reflect the modern environment in which paramedics operate. Among the courses developed and delivered in recent years are Major Incident Medical Management and Support Providers course, Emergency Medical Controller, a Phlebotomy course, Tutor and Instructor courses at a variety of clinical levels, an advanced driving course and the Advanced Paramedic course.

Advanced Training
The National Ambulance Service has invested significantly in meeting staff and patient expectations in terms of clinical competence, with its ongoing aim to deliver a first class ambulance service, benchmarked against international norms.

The training of over 100 Advanced Paramedics over the past four years has been a significant development. These individuals can provide a greater range and diversity of interventions and assistance as they are formally qualified to administer a range of medications, (including intramuscular and intravenous injections), use a range of advanced life support skills including advanced airways and chest decompression. New Clinical Practice Guidelines due for publication later this year will further enhance this scope of practice.

The advanced paramedic course and the paramedic up-skilling is provided by the National Ambulance Service College, in partnership with UCD, and the skills of such trained paramedics are already serving many communities across the country. These skills will be used to provide an enhanced and modern service for the public and ensure that patients receive the most advanced level of care.

New Vehicles
The purchase by the HSE of 132 new ambulance vehicles over the past two years is a clear demonstration of its commitment to the National Ambulance Service. The new ambulances house the most sophisticated equipment and support systems and significantly enhance the work of ambulance personnel.

The recent commissioning of these high tech vehicles has contributed to the development of emergency care networks and the ongoing development of high quality mobile healthcare brings the service to the patient at an advanced level.

Welcoming the new recruits this week, the Director of the National Ambulance College Mr Macartan Hughes said:

"Over the last decade the level of training and education has continued to rise at an accelerated rate, and now meets and frequently exceeds international norms. Our personnel are trained to the highest standards and are committed to providing an excellent service in communities right across the country. New recruits today are entering a clinical and educational development process that will offer them opportunities to provide the highest level of pre-hospital emergency care to patients as well as gaining recognised educational awards, eventually up to Masters Degree level. "

"This is a hugely significant development for the National Ambulance Service College. The new Galway campus not only allows us to expand the number of new recruits, but it also provides huge potential for continual and advanced training to be delivered across two sites, in addition to the training provided at a local level by In-service Training Officers. The Ballinasloe campus will also be used to support the training of activities of other organisations and individuals that provide emergency care. Such training will include Cardiac First Responder and Emergency First Responder training to a variety of students.

"These advances underline the integral role the National Ambulance Service has in the ongoing development of pre hospital emergency care services. With the increasing importance of immediate and at scene response, our role in linking in with many other healthcare and related professionals is leading to much better outcomes for our patients and as a result, a much better service for the public."

Mr Frank McClintock, Head of the HSE National Ambulance Service added:

"The opening of the Galway campus firmly demonstrates the commitment of the HSE to the National Ambulance Service and the potential that we know we can realise in terms of expansion and development of the skills of our personnel and the services they deliver to the public. Our financial investment in this campus and indeed the ongoing financial investment in this service is a very clear signal that this is a service that will continue to develop."

Last updated on: 25 / 03 / 2008