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Ambulance Driver Profile

Introduction

This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as an Ambulance Driver. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as an Ambulance Driver
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Ambulance Driver Work Information


Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

An ambulance driver, or worker, is part of the ambulance crew dealing with emergency calls. The ambulance service also provides non-urgent transport for patients.

• Ambulance care assistants drive non-emergency patients to outpatient appointments, hospital admissions or day centres.
• Ambulance technicians work alongside paramedics as part of the accident and emergency crews. They give patients urgent care and take them to hospital quickly. They also provide hospital transport in complicated non-emergency cases.

Ambulance staff in the National Health Service (NHS) work 39 or 40 hours a week. Ambulance care assistants work regular hours, while technicians usually work shifts, including nights, weekends and public holidays. Most of their time is spent on the road. The work involves handling and lifting patients and heavy equipment.
Salaries range from at least £14,010 a year for a trained care assistant, to at least £19,264 for an ambulance technician.

Ambulance workers should:

• care about the well-being of patients
• have excellent communication skills
• stay calm under pressure
• be physically fit and emotionally resilient
• work well in a team, and enjoy working with the public.

The NHS employs most ambulance workers. Others work in private hospitals, the Armed Forces and in large industries. Applicants for ambulance care assistant and ambulance technician jobs must be at least 21 years old, have a clear police check and a clean driving licence, although a maximum of three penalty points can be acceptable in Scotland (some services ask for licences that include sections C1 and D1 categories). Services may ask for at least four or five GCSEs/S grades (A-C/1-3). In Scotland H grades are desirable. Applicants must also pass entry exams.
Most people begin as ambulance care assistants. They may later be selected to train as ambulance technicians. Some ambulance services recruit people straight into technician work. Competition for technician training can be fierce.
Ambulance care assistants have two or three weeks' training. Ambulance technicians undertake a 20 week intensive course, and then work under supervision for up to a year.

What does the role encounter?

The ambulance service is an important part of the National Health Service (NHS). About 10 per cent of its work involves responding to 999 calls. The other 90 per cent is concerned with the non-urgent transport of patients.

• Ambulance care assistants work in the patient transport service. They deal with non-emergency transport work, eg driving patients to and from outpatient clinics, hospital admissions or day care centres. Patients are often elderly or have special needs, and may need support and reassurance.
• Ambulance technicians are part of the accident and emergency crews. Most crews consist of a paramedic and an ambulance technician. Technicians help paramedics to give patients the urgent care they need and get them to hospital quickly and safely. They have a wide range of skills, eg controlling haemorrhages (bleeding), caring for wounds and fractures. They are trained to administer a range of drugs. Technicians also provide hospital transport in more complicated non-emergency cases.

One member of the ambulance crew drives the ambulance. The crew is responsible for checking the efficiency of the vehicle and for making sure that the equipment is ready for use. They must also keep accurate records.
Ambulance staff liaise with control and communication staff who work on the switchboard, processing emergency and urgent calls, or routine transport requests.

What type of hours will I have to work?

Full-time ambulance staff in the NHS work an average of 39 or 40 hours a week. There are also many part-time staff. Ambulance care assistants generally work regular hours, but ambulance technicians work on rotating shifts, including nights, weekends and public holidays.

Most of the time is spent on the road. Ambulance technicians using a motorcycle or a rapid response unit may work on their own. They work in all kinds of weather, and have to handle and lift patients and heavy equipment, often in awkward conditions. Some injuries can be distressing, and members of the public are sometimes aggressive.

What level of salary and benefits are there?

These figures are purely for guidance only. Salaries may vary for the area the job is situated in, age, experience along with a host of other factors:

• A trained care assistant earns at least £14,010 a year.
• Qualified ambulance technicians earn at least £19,264 a year.

The above figures are basic salary rates. Workers on standby may receive extra payment. Staff based in London, the South East and some other regions receive additional cost-of-living allowances.

What type of skills will I need?

• have a caring attitude
• have excellent communication and interpersonal skills
• be responsible
• be patient and reassuring
• be well organised
• show initiative
• be able to make decisions quickly
• be physically fit and emotionally resilient
• stay calm under pressure
• work well in a team.

What type of training will I receive?

Ambulance care assistants have two or three weeks' initial training. They learn first aid and basic life support, how to move and handle patients, basic patient care skills and specialist safe driving techniques. They then work in an ambulance station under supervision for a probationary period.

Ambulance technicians spend up to 20 weeks (nine weeks in Scotland) in intensive training. They learn pre-hospital emergency care, physiology and anatomy, and emergency driving. They are then assigned to an ambulance station and work under supervision for up to a year. They must pass assessments before becoming fully-qualified ambulance technicians.

Career Progression:

Ambulance technicians can progress to become paramedics with further training. This involves an additional 10 to 12 week intensive course. Training combines theory and practice, including experience in various hospital departments. They are also taught advanced driving skills, and only qualify after passing a final assessment and becoming state registered. For further information please see Paramedic.

There are also opportunities to move into operational management, control room work, training or other management areas. In some services, ambulance technicians and paramedics can train as helicopter ambulance crew, or for car or motorcycle rapid response units.

A new area of work is that of community paramedics who work alongside GPs and practice nurses.

Where can I find further information?

Ambulance Service Association (ASA), Friars House, 157-168 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8EZ. 0207 928 9620. Website: www.asa.uk.net

Health Professions Council, Park House, 184 Kennington Park Road, London SE11 4BU. 020 7582 0866. Website: www.hpc-uk.org

Institute of Health and Care Development (IHCD), Edexcel, Stewart House, 32 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DN. 0870 240 9800 (calls charged at a national rate). Website: www.edexcel.org.uk

Local ambulance trusts:

NHS Careers, PO Box 376, Bristol BS99 3EY. 0845 6060 655. Website: www.nhscareers.nhs.uk

Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS), Ambulance Headquarters, Site 30 Knockbracken Healthcare Park, Saintfield Road, Belfast BT8 8SG. 028 9040 0999. Website: www.niamb.co.uk

Scottish Ambulance Service, National Headquarters, Tipperlin Road, Edinburgh EH10 5UU. 0131 446 7000. Website: www.scottishambulance.com

Welsh Ambulance Service, Trust Headquarters, H.M.Stanley Hospital, St Asaph, Denbighshire LL17 0WA. 01745 532900. Website: www.was-tr.wales.nhs.uk/

What trade magazines are available for this industry?

Leaflets from individual ambulance services - see the Ambulance Service Association or NHS Careers websites for addresses.

Are there similar types of jobs or related industries?

Yes, this list is not exhaustive but see the following categories:

Chiropractor
Firefighter/Officer
Healthcare Worker
Hospital Porter
Intensive Care Unit Technician
Operating Department Practitioner
Paramedic.

Other Useful Ambulance Driver Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Ambulance Driver job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Ambulance Driver Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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