How to become an urgent care desk paramedic: Becky's story

Meet Becky and learn more about life as an urgent care desk paramedic, helping patients over the phone. Part of our Bitesize world of work series.

Being on the road, I was able to help patients on a face-to-face basis. I'm now able to help them over the phone. It's a completely different job, but I still get the same satisfaction.

  • Becky is a senior paramedic within the Clinical Hub. 999 calls that don't require an emergency ambulance are directed to the Clinical Hub. Specialists such as mental health nurses, pharmacists or paramedics like Becky then work out the best way to help the patient
  • She compares her job to a private investigator. When you're a paramedic on the road, you can see a patient face-to-face but, on the phone, you need to ask the right questions to work out how to help them
  • Her journey to being a senior paramedic in the Clinical Hub began in college on a BTEC in Health Studies course followed by Paramedic Studies at university and time on the road as a paramedic.
Watch Becky's colleagues in action on BBC One's Ambulance.

Specialist paramedics on the urgent care desk follow up 999 calls where an emergency ambulance wasn't required and work out the best way to care for the patient. Before being able to become a specialist paramedic, you will need to be a qualified paramedic and have several years' experience on the road.

What to expect if you want to become a paramedic

  • Paramedic salary: £24,214 to £37,267 per year
  • Paramedic working hours: 36 to 38 hours per week. You work shifts, which could include evenings, weekends and bank holidays.

What qualifications do you need to be a paramedic?

  • Typical entry requirements: You'll need to get a university paramedic qualification that is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Full-time courses usually take three years. You'll usually need two to three A-levels (or equivalent) for a degree. You can also get into this role through a paramedic degree apprenticeship. There are no set entry requirements for this, but it may help if you have four or five GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and college qualifications such as A-levels (or equivalent).
    It may help you if you have volunteered as a community first responder with an organisation like St John Ambulance or an NHS ambulance trust. You could contact the voluntary services co-ordinator or manager at your local NHS trust for advice about opportunities.
    You can apply directly to this role via your local ambulance service. Each service sets their own entry requirements, though it may help your application if you have GCSEs (or equivalent) grade 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English, Maths and Science.
    Once you are an experienced paramedic with additional skills and qualifications, you can develop into other roles that allow you to carry out more treatments and take on more responsibility. There are many opportunities for experienced paramedics to develop into more senior roles such as a specialist paramedic like Becky, advanced paramedic or consultant paramedic. See NHS Careers for further information.

This information is a guide (sources: LMI for All, National Careers Service)

For careers advice in all parts of the UK visit: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

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