Would-be paramedics hit with £27,500 bill to retrain for vital service

Posted: March 25th 2022


I suspect this unfortunate situation will impact the pipeline of paramedics available in rural settings.  This story tells:

Professionals who want to retrain as paramedics are facing tough financial decisions after discovering they are barred from government funding.

Many who were inspired by the pandemic to join the NHS say they are being treated as second-class applicants because an outdated policy has excluded them from loans and grants available to almost all other mature healthcare students.

Since September, trainees must complete a university (BSc) degree to qualify as a paramedic. However, paramedic science, unlike other NHS professions, is ineligible for a student loan if studied as a pre-registration (second) degree course in England. Those wanting to join ambulance crews face £27,500 tuition fees.

They are also barred from receiving a £5,000-a-year NHS maintenance bursary launched in 2020 to encourage healthcare recruitment. Most pre-registered students studying related subjects are eligible for the money, which is not means tested. Mature students in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland qualify for varying degrees of government support.

The English funding anomaly means that a paramedic seeking to retrain as a nurse or a dentist can apply for a student loan and an NHS learning support grant, whereas a nurse or dentist who wants to retrain as a paramedic will have to fund fees and training expenses, as well as living costs, themselves.