THE University of Bolton has launched a new programme aimed at addressing the national shortage of paramedics.

The BSc Paramedic Science programme plans to boost innovation, whilst developing, supporting, and training paramedic students.

University chiefs hope that this will encourage students to apply for registration as qualified paramedics.

The university has been working closely with the North West Ambulance Service and Health Education England to develop and deliver the course to help prepare students for the daily challenges of working as a paramedic.

Rory McKelvin, programme leader, said: “We are using the latest research in educational techniques to ensure the gold standard of training is provided, while maintaining the flexibility to support learning needs of all students from a multitude of backgrounds.”

An introductory team-building exercise was held earlier this month with outdoor activitity specialists at the Anderton Centre. It enabled students to get to know each other, develop friendships and find a supportive structure.

This included taking part in activities that would emulate specific aspects or practices paramedics would need to develop, to become competent safe practitioners.

Mr McKelvin said: "There is a strong focus on preparation and simulated training in all levels of fidelity, to develop and strengthen students’ confidence and skills as they go through the three years of the course. This gives the students an enjoyable, fun, learning experience, invaluable to developing critical skills that can be life-saving one day.

The university team is comprised of qualified registered paramedics with extensive experience and specialisations in multiple fields.

Staff members with bank contracts carry on with practical shifts to ensure their skills remain up-to-date, meaning students are trained by people in the profession, with the most up to date knowledge.

Michelle Powell, head of the university’s clinical and biomedical sciences centre, said: “The ambulance service faces a national shortage of paramedics and ambulance crews, and many areas are struggling to cope with the growing demand for care.

"Our programme will contribute to filling that workforce gap."