Tuesday, 1 April 2014
Paramedics and the Military
So I thought I'd start April off with something I know a little about. If you've come across this blog it's likely that you would like to become a Paramedic sometime in the future, there are a few Career options open to you once you have successfully attained State Registration - Ambulance Trusts are the obvious ones but there's scope to work Privately, in remote/hostile environments abroad or at sea, or as another option: Within the Military. Now we're specifically looking at the Army and the RAF here as the Navy don't have Paramedics within the service (they have Medical Assistants instead). So let's look at how these two Services use Paramedics.
RAF: The RAF, at the time of writing, have the better structure in place to support Paramedics and have done for some time. Generally the RAF Paramedics are exclusively used as Flight Medics (ie providing care in-flight) and so find themselves working on Aeromedical Evacuation flights (taking casualties via plane from one country to another ie Afghanistan back to the UK or Germany) or, slightly more sexy they are also found working on MERT Flights (Medical Emergency Response Team) which is the Chinook/Merlin that flies forward and collects the Casualty from where they were injured and returns them to definitive care within the Operational Environment (ie a Field Hospital).
Army: The Army has only just started getting its head around Paramedics, it wants them and there are methods for Combat Medics in the Army to attain State Registration and maintain the competencies for it. At the moment it attracts an instant promotion to Corporal once qualified so you get paid a semi-decent amount however the job 'Paramedic' at the moment does not exist in the Army, instead you become a Combat Medical Technician (Military State Registered Paramedic) meaning you are a Combat Medic, you can use the advanced trauma management techniques a regular Paramedic does not normally do (ie surgical airways, chest drains etc) and do all the things your Paramedic registration allows you to do on top of that. As the Army is trying to build up its own cadre of Paramedics it's still working out how to use them, at the moment the theory is that Paramedics will be Clinical Lead/Supervisors for regular Combat Medics and Operationally work on a Land-based MERT (think Armored Vehicle Ambulance sorts of Vehicles) as an RAF Paramedic does.
So, hopefully that has shed some light on an often overlooked option about what you want to do once you attain your State Registration!