Published on 15 March 2023
A North-East GP practice has opened its doors to paramedic students to grow its diverse team and ensuring patients get the right care for their needs.
The Rothbury Practice, based in Northumberland, has welcomed a University of Sunderland paramedic student into their team for a valuable placement experience. It comes as part of a growing relationship between Northumbria Primary Care and the University.
The Rothbury Practice is part of Northumbria Primary Care (NPC), a not-for-profit, at-scale provider of primary care services in Northumberland and North Tyneside. Formed in 2015, NPC now manages nine GP practices looking after nearly 60,000 patients as well as providing collaborative support services. Last year, the organisation’s Northumberland practices formed their own Primary Care Network.
Northumbria Primary Care has introduced the paramedic role into its practices in order to improve the service offering available to patients. Paramedics run clinics, triage and manage minor illnesses and provide continuity for patients with complex health needs among a host of other responsibilities. Their presence within a GP practice allows for an additional dimension of care, as well as reducing GP workloads, allowing them to see more patients.
Phil Calcutt, a third year University of Sunderland Paramedic Practice and Out of Hospital Care student, recently completed a two-week placement at The Rothbury Practice. He joined the team in early January, after being intrigued by the prospect of working in primary care.
“When I started my course, I hadn’t really considered how my role would fit within the context of primary care,” he said. “I think when most people think of paramedics they think of hospital and ambulances, not GP practices.
“Being able to work alongside the brilliant team at The Rothbury Practice was an amazing experience. Working in primary care wasn’t something I thought I’d be doing, but I learned so much during my placement. Being able to work alongside a wide range of clinicians and understand the patient journey has left a big impression on me. It’s been incredibly helpful to gain insight into the management of long-term conditions.”
Paula Treadwell, Senior Lecturer and Practice Placement Lead at the University of Sunderland, said: “It’s important that we’re able to provide a wide range of experiences to our students. Working alongside Northumbria Primary Care has given us a brilliant opportunity to help educate our students on the different career paths available to them.
“We’ve received nothing but positive feedback from our paramedic placements at NPC and we hope to see some of our students pursue this route once they qualify.”
Daniel Nimmo, a paramedic with Northumbria Primary Care, added: “When people think of a paramedic, they generally don’t think of their role in a GP surgery. However, paramedics have been an integral part of the primary care ecosystem for many years and we’re seeing this become more and more common up and down the country.
“We sit as part of a multi-professional team and are able to provide patients with another dimension of care. For many patients, we can address the health issues that they present with, meaning that GPs are able to focus on more complex and serious cases.”
Helen Beaumont-Waters, Head of Clinical Development (Primary and Urgent Care) at the College of Paramedics, said: “I think this is a great opportunity not only to showcase the wider multi-disciplinary team working and new roles that we are now seeing in primary care, but also that Phil found it so incredibly useful.
“Placements outside of the ambulance trusts allows students to see a different part of the patient journey and makes them a much more rounded paramedic upon registration.”
Helen added: “Being a paramedic is so much more than driving on blue lights and sirens, paramedics need to be prepared to deal with anything, in any setting, in any weather and with compassion, competence and professionalism, and this fantastic collaboration is supporting the next generation of our colleagues.”